The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

In SoCal business news: Comcast weighs in on deal, Questcor bought by Mallinckrodt, Broad still interested in LA Times

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Good morning! Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday, our staff compiles a list of interesting business stories in the region.

  • Anaheim-based biotech firm Questcor Pharmaceuticals will be bought by Mallinckrodt in $5.6 billion deal (New York Times). Times reporters Andrew Pollack and Chad Bray say Questor has come under controversy for raising its price on an immune system drug from $40 to more than $28,000 a vial in 10 years.
  • Comcast says plans to buy Time Warner Cable benefits consumers (Wall Street Journal). Reporter Gautham Nagesh says Comcast believes the deal would allow it "to offer more video choices and faster home Internet to Time Warner Cable customers" as well as allow it to better compete for ads and business services.
  • YouTube teen network AwesomenessTV is going to have licensed merchandise (Deadline). Deadline's financial editor David Lieberman says James Fielding will become AwesomenessTV's global head of consumer products and retail.  Fielding was a past Claire's Stores Inc. CEO and president at Disney Stores Worldwide. Last year, I reported DreamWorks Animation bought AwesomenessTV in a deal that could reach up to $117 million.
  • What will Frank Underwood do next? Legislation to increase the amount of film tax credits in the Maryland legislature failed (Washington Post). That means Maryland will offer $15 million in tax credits, instead of $18.5 million. People behind House of Cards had tried to lobby for more tax credits (KPCC).
  • The Maryland discussion comes as California decides whether to change its film and TV tax credit program. State Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) told me he would consider adding language to a bill that would allow late night talk shows to apply for credits.
  • Most of this summer's major releases are directed by white males (The Wrap). Reporter Lucas Shaw said of the 39 "major releases," 37 have white male directors or co-directors. KPCC's Josie Huang reported earlier this year that Hollywood is trying to improve diversity among its groups.
  • Dennis Arriola became CEO of Southern California Gas Co. last month and he discusses his job with the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Arriola leads 8,200 employees and a territory more than 20,000 square miles.
  • Eli Broad says he and Austin Beutner are still interested in buying the Los Angeles Times, but the paper's corporate parent Tribune Co. is making it "difficult." (Los Angeles Magazine).   "They are creating a new structure that will make it more difficult for the newspapers to break even financially," Broad tells the magazine. "That's a concern for us and for a lot of people." He might be referring to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) who raised concerns about Tribune spinning off its newspapers into its own separate publishing business.
  • Roughly 40% of food trucks and carts in L.A. County haven't had field inspections in 3 years (Los Angeles Times). 
  • Expect pricier guacamole during Cinco de Mayo this year. That's because there are fewer limes, an ingredient in guacamole (The Packer via OC Weekly). Take Two's A Martinez interviewed Mario Marovic, who owns bars and restaurants in Orange County, who came up with a good idea to deal with high lime prices. His business had a viral campaign asking customers to bring limes from their backyard in exchange for a craft cocktail or margarita for a quarter.

Got business news? Tweet me @thewendylee.

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