Explaining Southern California's economy

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

Cable Giant Comcast To Acquire Time Warner Cable

Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Comcast headquarters in downtown on February 13, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Comcast recently announced its intent to acquire Time Warner Cable in a $45 billion deal.

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.


Boeing will shut down C-17 plant in Long Beach earlier than expected

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

C-17 cargo jet production in Long Beach was scheduled to end in late 2015. Now, Boeing says it's likely to come three months sooner.

Boeing announced Monday that it will end production of the C-17 Globemaster and close its final assembly facility in Long Beach three months earlier than originally anticipated. 

The 2200 Californians who work in support of building the cargo jet have known since last September that production will end next year.  Boeing initially estimated that end late in 2015, but now says a summer shutdown is more likely.

"Based on current market trends and the timing of expected orders, Boeing anticipates completing C-17 production in mid-2015, an adjustment of approximately three months from an initial estimate of late 2015," the company said in a statement. 

RELATED: Boeing's 777X in California: Is Long Beach a long shot?

“This was disappointing news for more than 2,000 employees in California, who have built the C-17, the worlds premier air-lifter, for more than two decades,"  Boeing  spokeswoman Cindy Anderson told KPCC.   


In SoCal business news: Boeing's C-17 production to end earlier than expected, Yahoo to ramp up video content

Boeing Delivers First C-17 Globemaster III To United Arab Emirates Air Force

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A C-17 Globemaster III airlifters built for the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence is prepared for takeoff from Long Beach Airport after Boeing delivered the first of six C-17 Globemaster III airlifters during a handing off ceremony at the company's final assembly facility on May 10, 2011.

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

  • Boeing says it will end C-17 production in Long Beach three months earlier than expected (Los Angeles Times). The closure will impact about 2,000 workers in Southern California. 
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier earned $203 million this weekend in box office sales worldwide, with about $96 million from U.S. theaters (Variety). Variety reporter Andrew Stewart says the movie's U.S. box office figures were the most for any film in April and roughly 50 percent more than when Captain America opened its first film in the nation three years ago. More on the weekend box office numbers here
  • Yahoo is ramping up its game in original video content (Wall Street Journal). WSJ reporters Mike Shields and Douglas MacMillan say Yahoo is close to commissioning four web series, which could have "per-episode budgets ranging from $700,000 to a few million dollars."
  • Some legal experts say it could be challenging for Comcast to explain to regulators why it won't have a high-speed Internet monopoly after it buys Time Warner Cable (New York Times). Comcast plans to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion.
  • ABC struggles with declining viewership, skews toward female audience (Ad Age). Jason Kanefsky, an executive with Havas Media tells Ad Age, "ABC attracts the lowest common denominator—women 35-to-64—which is the easiest target to reach on TV. There are plenty of other options that are more efficient than ABC."
  • A lawsuit challenges the use of unpaid internships in Hollywood (Los Angeles Times). L.A. Times' Daniel Miller and John Horn say if the lawsuit succeeds, it would "force Hollywood to change everything from the way film crews are assembled to the manner in which new talent is cultivated."
  • San Diego airport signs deal to add solar power to two main terminals (U-T San Diego). Reporter Morgan Lee says the deal could provide savings of up to $8 million.
  • Retailers would be liable if consumers get hacked under a new bill in the state legislature (Los Angeles Times). The move comes amid concerns about hacking at places like Target. Earlier this year, I reported up to 110 million people were impacted by a security breach of Target's data system.
  • United will drive its top fliers to their gates in Mercedes-Benz cars at LAX (Daily Breeze). 
  • If you're too lazy—I mean, busy—to type into Amazon the groceries you need to reorder, there's a tool for that. Amazon has given a wand-like tool to its L.A. and S.F. AmazonFresh customers, which lets them point and scan the products they need to reorder or speak into its microphone, so they don't need to type it out (re/code).


At home opener, Dodger fans not sure who to blame in Time Warner dispute

Opening Day

Ben Bergman/KPCC

The Dodgers home opener provided a rare chance for many fans to see the game who've missed out getting the Dodgers new cable channel.

With the Dodgers’ new cable channel only available in only about a third of Los Angeles homes, Friday's home-opener brought an added appeal for many fans: A chance to see a team they’ve missed out getting on TV. 

I talked to a random sampling of fans at Dodger Stadium. None of them get the Dodgers Channel, but most of them aren’t sure who to be mad at.

“I haven’t paid enough attention to assign blame either way," said Bill Child of Long Beach. "I’m sure there’s a good argument on both sides. I’m just fed up and want to see my Dodgers.”

But some fans are taking sides, like Gilda Lopez, who’s says Time Warner is being greedy.

“They seem to really want a lot," said Lopez.  "I think it’s a tactic to encourage fans to switch to Time Warner, but I’m not doing that.”

For fans like Lopez it’s back to the days of Babe Ruth; Catch the game on the radio, or in-person. Lopez is trying to make the most of it. 


Battle for 'Late Show': Mayor Garcetti invites show to LA (but no tax credits?)

David Letterman announced his retirement on Thursday night, but Twitter got to it first.

Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

David Letterman announced his retirement on Thursday night, but Twitter got to it first.

Garcetti Forum

Grant Slater/KPCC

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he wants CBS' next late night show to come to L.A., even though there are currently no tax credits to offer. Photo is a Crawford Family Forum event on Oct. 21.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants CBS to bring the "Late Show" to Los Angeles from its longtime home in New York when host David Letterman retires in 2015, as he announced on April 3.

In a Thursday night letter to CBS Corp.'s chief executive Leslie Moonves, Garcetti said that the city is "aggressively seeking to encourage more production here in Los Angeles by cutting red tape, lending proactive assistance, and by furthering public policy to compete with financial incentives offered by other states."  (Emphasis added.)

(Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made his own pitch to keep the "Late Show" in the Big Apple with a tongue-in-cheek "Top 10" list praising Letterman, Variety reported.)

The problem with Garcetti's proposal is that late-night talk shows don't qualify for film tax credits under California's current program. While a bill to expand film tax credits is in the state legislature, late night talk shows are not included.