The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

In SoCal business news: American Apparel gets investment boost, Sony enters $200 million financing deal, Santa Monica pony ride showdown

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

  • Troubled American Apparel receives boost in investment from Switzerland-based asset management firm FiveT Capital AG (Bloomberg). Reporter Matt Townsend says before FiveT's investment, American Apparel had more debt than cash on hand and was in danger of default. Townsend says FiveT now has a 13 percent stake in American Apparel and is the company's "largest outside investor."
  • 2020 Commission suggests combining Port of L.A. and Long Beach into one entity (KPCC). 
  • Sony enters $200 million financing deal with LStar Capital and Citibank (The Wrap). The Wrap's Sharon Waxman says: "The deal was pursued by studio chairman Michael Lynton, looking to lay off some of the risk of the studio's movie slate after a weak performance in 2013 that has led to hundreds of lay-offs and an executive shake-up at the studio." This summer, Sony Pictures Entertainment will lay off 216 employees (KPCC).
  • Universal Studios Hollywood plans to "remake" 70 percent of the park by 2016 and compete with Disney (New York Times). Times reporter Brooks Barnes says the plans are part of a $1.6 billion effort and aims to bring families with young children. 
  • CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves is getting calls from L.A. and New York City mayors, urging CBS to bring the next "Late Show" to those cities (Deadline). State Assemblyman Mike Gatto told me he is considering whether to add language that would allow late night talk shows to apply for the state's film and TV tax credit program.
  • Google is beefing up information it displays on hotel listings, with more photos and reviews (Wall Street Journal). WSJ reporters Rolfe Winkler and Craig Karmin say the move could cause "travel agencies and hotel operators to pay more for clicks on Google ads over time." 
  • The Weather Channel will be back on DirecTV after not airing on the network since Jan. 14 (Los Angeles Business Journal). 
  • San Diego area hospitals are working to put healthier options on the menu (U-T San Diego). Reporter Paul Sisson says some hospitals are reducing the amount of meat on their menus and are using the cost savings to buy healthier ingredients.
  • A pony ride showdown is happening in Santa Monica (Santa Monica Daily Press). Reporter David Mark Simpson says Santa Monica resident Marcy Winograd has an online petition, urging the city ban pony rides because they are "cruel and inhumane." Meanwhile, pony ride operator Tawni Angel started a rival online petition, saying she treats her ponies well and touts the rides as educational.

Got business news? Tweet me @thewendylee.

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