The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

In SoCal business news: Facebook buys Irvine's Oculus, Aerojet Rocketdyne layoffs, USC's burrito vending machine

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Good morning! Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday, we compile a list of interesting business news in the region.

  • Could Facebook change social media through the purchase of Oculus? (Orange County Register). Oculus specializes in virtual reality goggles. Register reporter Ian Hamilton says this could lead to a new type of social media, "for person-to-person interaction" even if you're not in the same place. Meanwhile, Variety suggests the deal could threaten theaters in the future. NPR's Laura Sydell tested out the goggles earlier this month. 
  • Dish's chairman apparently approached DirecTV's CEO about a merger (Bloomberg). This comes after Comcast announced it will buy Time Warner Cable. We'll be monitoring this situation.
  • More job cuts are coming to Southern California. Aerojet Rocketdyne will lay off 162 employees, Amgen plans to cut 252 workers and Bank of America will reduce its California staff by 636 workers (Los Angeles Daily News).
  • City of Santa Monica makes a move to reduce its airport operations. The Santa Monica City Council approved taking over a portion of the Santa Monica Airport, which would prevent large planes from landing there (CBS Local). KPCC's business reporter Brian Watt examined some of the issues surrounding the airport.
  • People say the newspaper business is dying, but the Pew Research Center's State of the News Media report says newspapers still represent the bulk of news revenue. Poynter's Rick Edmonds says newspapers made $38.6 billion out of the total $63.6 billion in news revenue.  As I reported earlier, Freedom Communications will launch the LA Register on April 16.
  • Will Lachlan Murdoch follow in his dad Rupert Murdoch's footsteps? That's what New York Times reporter David Jolly thinks. Lachlan was named as non-executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox and the News Corporation, putting him in position to one day take over the company.
  • San Bernardino officials spent $200 million on its regional airport and no airlines have come yet (KPCC). KPCC business reporter Brian Watt and photographer Maya Sugarman toured the airport. See photos of their tour on Audiovision.
  • College students and free food = good combination? Yesterday Burritobox, a burrito vending machine, launched at USC. The Daily Trojan reporter Eloy Yndigoyen reports the machine gave free burritos in the first 24 hours of operation. 

Got business news? Tweet me @thewendylee or follow me on Facebook and Google+.

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