Stocks open higher: Money keeps being pushed into equities, even in a murky economic climate. A falling dollar and higher oil prices haven't hurt. At last check, the Dow was over the 10,100 level.
Forget about change: Pretty discouraging LAT-USC poll show that most Californians are not interested in approving reforms like eliminating the two-thirds vote required to pass a state budget. And forget about even touching Proposition 13. From the Times:
Major segments of the electorate see the state's problems as the product of unrestrained lawmakers driven by special interests to waste taxpayer money, and reject arguments that structural issues with the state's Constitution and government institutions are to blame.
Home prices edge up: The October median price in L.A. County was $340,000, up $5,000 from the month before and down only 6.8 percent from a year earlier, according to Home Data. Sales were down slightly from September. (Business Journal)
Another bank seizure: United Commercial Bank was taken over by East West Bancorp in Pasadena, creating the largest Socal-based bank. East West agreed to assume all deposits. United Commercial, which was based in SF, had 17 Socal branches. (LAT)
Tough times for the Gondas: The financial crisis has hit Leslie and his son Louis, two of Socal's biggest philanthropists. The Gondas, who made a fortune in the aircraft leasing business, have been selling off personal property and tightened their spending. From the LAT:
The fall-off in their net worth is a cause for concern among many local charities. The Gondas have given away hundreds of millions of dollars to dozens of charities, several in Southern California. "People might not think that ultra-net people have been affected by everything that's gone on the past year, but I can assure you it has," said Judy Belk, senior vice president at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in Los Angeles.
Closer on NBC deal?: GE and cable giant Comcast have agreed to value the TV-movie company at around $30 billion, which apparently is an important breakthrough in getting a deal done. From the WSJ:
While the deal is advanced, it is possible negotiations could be delayed or unravel. One wild card remains French media and telecom company Vivendi SA, which owns 20% of NBC Universal. Vivendi has told 80%-owner GE that it wants to sell its stake this year, according to people familiar with the matter. It is unclear whether Vivendi has agreed to the deal being considered by Comcast and GE.
Northrop makes sale: The L.A. aerospace company's government consulting unit, TASC, is being acquired by private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and General Atlantic for $1.65 billion in cash. Northrop and other military contractors face stricter requirements on conflicts of interest (no consulting while also selling products). (NYT)
Unhappy about budget deal: The heads of Los Angeles World Airports and the Port of L.A. say that cutting the pay of thousands of their employees, part of the city's deficit-reduction plan, would severely hamper operations. From the Breeze:
On top of that, any savings reaped by the harbor and airport departments cannot be transferred to the city's coffers because the two proprietary departments operate on their own independent budgets. "We have workers who want to work, we have lots of work to do and we absolutely have the money to do it," [LAWA head Gina Marie] Lindsey. "We were very rigorous in our budget when we approved it at the beginning of the fiscal year and we have no intention of changing it."