Stocks meander: Should be a snoozer, with U.S. markets closing at 10 a.m. Dow is up 35 points.
Good month for car sales: GM, Chrysler and Nissan had a better-than-expected June. All told, auto sales are expected to increase 21 percent from a year earlier, although they may be down from May. (Bloomberg)
Real estate honcho received tax breaks: The CEO of Douglas Emmett Inc. and his wife were the biggest contributors to the campaign of John Noguez, who went on to become county assessor. From the LAT:
Within months, Noguez's office slashed the taxable value of the company's properties by $307 million, four times what Douglas Emmett had received in the previous four years, according to a Times analysis of tax records. The county ended up refunding the company more than $4.5 million in 2011. The company's success last year stood out, even among other office building owners who bought at the height of the market and won reductions. Douglas Emmett's tax bills were reduced an average of 27% per building; for everyone else, it was 16%, the analysis found.
Dell buys OC software company: The computer company's $2.4 billion purchase of Quest Software is a further expansion into servers, networking, storage products, and computer services. From DealBook:
Founded in 1987, Quest is one of the larger players in this arena, with about $857 million in annual sales. It sells a broad range of solutions, such as software to manage databases, protect information and simplify access to data. According to [John A. Swainson, president of Dell's software group], Dell was particularly attracted to Quest's application monitoring software and its identity access software, which allows users to access multiple password-protected accounts with a single login. "This is the right move for Dell," said Peter Misek, an analyst with Jeffries & Company, said. "With Quest, Dell can provide a bundled offering for software applications in a very seamless way."
L.A. still lags in online job openings: One advertised vacancy for every four people out of work, according to the Conference Board's June data. That compares with Washington, D.C., which had a nearly one-to-one ratio. Riverside had one opening for every eight people looking. (press release)
New AMC owner eyes film production: China's Wang Jianlin says he wants to finance movies - as well as fix up the theater chain. From the LAT:
By investing $500 million into renovation -- "targeting seats, audio systems and screen systems," he said, Wang believes he can drive AMC to expand its revenue 10% or more a year. "I'm a businessman, and the merger and acquisition of AMC is from a business point of view," Wang said. "Right now, some people may say it's not worthwhile to buy out AMC. However, we believe through our constant investment and renovation of the theaters we can create more profit."
"Call of Duty" comes to China - online: Activision's wildly popular game will be free-to-play, with revenue to come from in-game sales. (Forbes)
New CEO at THR parent: Dorothy Mattison replaces Richard Beckman as chief executive of Prometheus Global Media. Mattison is a senior managing director at Guggenheim Partners, which bought the parent of the Reporter, Adweek and other titles in 2009. Guggenheim also is majority owner of the Dodgers. From the NY Post:
Beckman had been stripped of most of his CEO duties a year ago, when he revealed that he was going to pursue branded media opportunities while turning over day-to-day operations to Chairman Finkelstein. But Beckman hung onto the CEO title and didn't formally exit until last Friday, creating mass confusion among the rank-and-file. "It was beyond dysfunctional," said one source who was there at the time. "Nobody was in charge." In the last few months, Mattison, who joined Guggenheim in 2010 after a stint as general manager of Walmart's apparel group, has been acting more and more like the CEO, sources said.