Explaining Southern California's economy

Case-Shiller: November Los Angeles home prices rise 7.7 percent for the year

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A for sale sign is seen in front of a home in Los Angeles. The Case-Shiller index of home prices for November reported that prices in L.A. rose by a decent margin in November.

Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price index for November released Tuesday and the news for Los Angeles is...about what it's been for the past year of reports from the closely monitored composites of housing prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas.

Los Angeles is included in both the 10- and 20-city Case-Shiller composites, which lag the market by two months and represent a three-month moving average of prices. That's why we're just getting November, even though it's now almost February.

L.A. home-price gains were modest from October to November – 0.4 percent, down slightly from the September-October gain of 0.6 percent. In terms of the overall index, however, Los Angeles beat the year-over-year average for November, with a 7.7 percent increase versus 5.5 percent for the full 20-city composite.

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Shamu goes public: Could SeaWorld's IPO retire a whale of debt?

Baby Killer Whale Born At SeaWorld San Diego

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A mother and baby orcas, also called killer whales, swim at Sea World in San Diego. The company just filed for a $100 million IPO, much of which may go to put a dent in $1.7 billion of debt.

Last week, SeaWorld and its iconic orcas filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. It's fair to call this the "Shamu IPO," even though the original Shamu, who performed at the original SeaWorld in San Diego, died in 1971. SeaWorld has kept the moniker around as a sort of branded stage name for orcas.

SeaWorld also operates marine-based theme parks in Orlando, Florida, and San Antonio, Texas; the parent company, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, runs eight other venues in the U.S. And that parent company is owned by Blackstone, a huge private equity firm that bought SeaWord from Anheuser-Busch in 2009.

(Blackstone, with another aspect of its business, also managed the sale of the Dodgers last year and is currently involved with the sale of sports and entertainment colossus AEG.)

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