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BUSINESS
January 8, 2014 | By Roger Vincent
A 1970s-era office building in the Westlake neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles that houses a branch of the L.A. Superior Court has sold for $50 million to prominent local real estate investor Jamison Services Inc. Jamison, one of the largest office landlords in Southern California, bought the building at 600 S. Commonwealth Ave. from a family trust managed by Comerica Bank. The 19-story building overlooking Lafayette Park in the Westlake neighborhood was completed in 1971 to house the Los Angeles offices of CNA Financial Corp., a Chicago insurance firm.
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BUSINESS
January 7, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton and Stuart Pfeifer
When Bernard L. Madoff's Ponzi scheme was revealed five years ago, the big question was whether he pulled off the jaw-dropping crime by himself. Madoff stubbornly claimed to have acted alone, but it became clear Tuesday that he got a significant assist from one of the world's premier financial institutions. JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay $2.6 billion for ignoring numerous warning signs that could have exposed the $17.5-billion fraud years earlier. Internal emails showed that JPMorgan employees repeatedly questioned the towering investment returns that Madoff claimed to be notching.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 7, 2014 | By Joe Flint
Aereo, the start-up company that transmits local broadcast television signals via the Internet, said it has raised $34 million in a new round of financing that it will use to expand its service, which is currently available in 10 cities. Among Aereo's new backers is Gordy Crawford, a well-known figure in media circles who retired last year from Capital Research and Management, where he oversaw the firm's entertainment and media investments for decades. Crawford is very close to media mogul Barry Diller, whose company IAC is a key investor in Aereo.
BUSINESS
January 6, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
Men's Wearhouse Inc. is upping its bid to buy competitor Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, offering to pay some $1.6 billion for the men's apparel retailer. The two companies have been trading acquisition attempts, sparked by Jos. A. Bank's unsolicited move on Oct. 9 to purchase the much larger Men's Wearhouse for $48 a share, or roughly $2.3 billion. On Monday, Men's Wearhouse said it commenced a cash tender offer of $57.50 a share - a 38% premium over Jos. A. Bank's close on Oct. 8. Compared with Jos. A. Bank's Friday close of $54.41 a share, it's a 5.7% premium.
NEWS
January 5, 2014 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK - It's been a fantastic time for stocks, but it's been even better for shares of small companies like Zale Corp. The small Texas company's shares rocketed more than 280% last year, propelled by investors who expect lovebirds to increasingly shell out big bucks for gold rings and diamond-encrusted pendants at Zale's jewelry stores and shopping center kiosks around the country. Investors have piled into Zale despite the company's shaky earnings history - it posted four straight years of losses before returning to profitability in 2013.
BUSINESS
December 31, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK - Wall Street closed out an epic year with the stock market's best performance since 1995, fattening the retirement accounts for a generation of Americans crushed by the financial crisis just five years ago. The 27% gain in the Dow Jones industrial average enabled investors to recoup the last of the losses suffered during the Great Recession, when the value of America's blue-chip stocks was slashed in half. And analysts are predicting that stocks will continue their upward march in 2014, though perhaps not at such a breakneck pace.
NATIONAL
December 30, 2013 | By Evan Halper
WASHINGTON - Jennifer Tadlock doesn't yet have all the talent lined up for the small-budget dramatic action feature she hopes to film next year, let alone a full crew. But she does have a tax break, and it's expiring, which was enough to get her behind the camera last month. Tadlock spent about $500 to hire a skeletal crew and nonunion talent to film just one scene near her home in Fresno. "We did the makeup ourselves," she said. The scene, involving teenagers plotting to harass an elderly woman, may never appear in the final cut. But by shooting this year, Tadlock hopes to lock in place the tax break that was key for investors who put up the $6 million she'll need to shoot "Shades of Grace" for real next year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 30, 2013 | Times wire services
Dallas billionaire and heavyweight GOP political donor Harold Simmons, who gave tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has died. He was 82. Simmons, born to two school teachers in East Texas, became one of the richest men in the country with interests ranging from energy to chemicals. His spokesman Chuck McDonald said Simmons died Saturday in Dallas but did not disclose the cause. Simmons made his fortune as a Texas corporate raider nicknamed the "Ice Man" after structuring leveraged takeover bids using junk bonds in the 1970s and '80s.
BUSINESS
December 29, 2013 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - An important resource for first-time home buyers and others who find themselves in unfair competition with deep-pocket investors bearing cash just got better: The two biggest players in the mortgage market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are now giving non-investor shoppers 20-day exclusive rights to bid on and buy new listings they are selling. During the 20-day "first look" period, investors will be excluded from submitting bids. To qualify, non-investor buyers will need to commit to making the home their principal residence for at least a year.
BUSINESS
December 27, 2013 | By Tom Petruno
Wall Street had plenty of reasons to think 2013 would go miserably for the stock market - what with a lackluster global economy, the U.S. government shutdown, Syria's civil war, the Obamacare fiasco and Miley Cyrus. Instead, we're on track for a 29% gain in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which would be its best annual showing since 1997. So the highlight of the year for many Americans will be the repair job on their retirement savings accounts. But taking a broader view, here are six 2013 market memories that should endure: • Ma and Pa come back to stocks.
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