TODAY

– November 20, 2014

William Morris Endeavor, Silver Lake buying IMG

(AP) — Talent agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment is teaming with investment firm Silver Lake Partners to buy sports marketing firm IMG Worldwide, combining a powerful force in entertainment with one of the powerhouses in sports marketing.

Financial terms were not disclosed. William Morris Endeavor said the acquisition will add global reach and depth in sports, fashion and media.

Aside from sports figures including NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, IMG also has clients in the fashion industry. IMG got its start in 1960 with a handshake between Mark McCormack and golfer Arnold Palmer, according to its website. It has 3,500 employees and operates in more than 30 countries.

IMG had been owned since 2004 by private equity firm Forstman Little.

William Morris Endeavor was created in 2009 when the entertainment agency William Morris merged with Endeavor, but its roots go back more than a century. The Beverly Hills, Calif., agency represents thousands of notables in film, television, music, literature, theater and digital media including Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Amy Adams.

Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel, co-CEOs of William Morris Endeavor, will serve as co-CEOs of the combined company. Emanuel is the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and is often cited as the inspiration for superagent Ari Gold on HBO's series "Entourage."

The Associated Press is a partner with IMG in Sports News Television, a sports news agency.

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Latest Local News

Written on 11/20/2014, 11:39 am by Lisa Leff, AP Writer
(AP) — The University of California voted Thursday to approve a tuition increase of as much as 5 percent in each of the next five years unless the state...
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:34 am by Associated Press
(AP) — California regulators have approved a settlement to divide billions of dollars in costs from the closed San Onofre nuclear power plant. Consumers will get refunds and credits of about $1.4 billion. But they will pay about $3.3 billion in costs over 10 years, including for power purchased after the plant shut down. The vote by the California Public Utilities Commission Thursday was 5-0. At issue has been who should take the financial hit for the plant's premature demise — company shareholders or customers. San Onofre shut down for good last year after a long fight over whether it was safe to restart. The settlement stems from negotiations among operator Southern California Edison, minority owner San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and consumer advocates. Critics argued that the deal shortchanged ratepayers.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:32 am by Sudhin Thanawala, AP Writer
(AP) — State regulators have decided to fine Pacific Gas & Electric Co. $1 million and require its shareholders to cover as much as $400 million of a gas rate increase because of backroom negotiations between the utility and regulators. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday in favor of the penalty. The decision stems from recently released emails that show a PG&E executive and California Public Utilities Commission officials discussing which judge to appoint to a case over gas rates, with the executive objecting to one judge for having a history of being hard on the utility. Ratepayer advocates have demanded that the commission release tens of thousands of additional emails that they say may also show illegal contact between the CPUC and the state's largest utility. The commission did not address that request.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:28 am by Associated Press
(AP) — A Southern California doctor has agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve allegations that he submitted fraudulent bills and received improper payments from federal and state health insurance programs. The settlement concludes a federal whistleblower lawsuit filed by an individual who used to provide billing and collection services to Dr. Narinder S. Grewal's Chatsworth pain management clinic. The suit alleged that Grewal and his clinic obtained improper reimbursements from government-run health insurance programs, including Medicare and Medi-Cal. He was accused of collecting on fraudulent claims by submitting bills that were not justified by the services that were actually provided. The Daily News (http://bit.ly/1uNeMdY ) cites court records unsealed Wednesday that reveal Grewel has agreed to pay a total of $1.2 million to the federal government and the state of California.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:23 am by Associated Press
(AP) — A storage company in the desert east of San Diego has pleaded guilty to illegally disposing of untreated human waste that may have totaled more than 1 million gallons. Federal prosecutors say Glamis Dunes Storage Inc. and owner Michael Mamelli entered the plea Wednesday. The storage site is off Highway 78 near the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and in 2007 it received a permit to install and operate a 20,000-gallon tank for holding human waste from recreational vehicles. The company agreed under the permit that a licensed hauler would come and take the waste to a wastewater treatment plant. But the defendants admitted that in 2010 they installed a leaching system that would pump waste from the tank to under a nearby field, and expanded that system in 2012.
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:00 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Democratic Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno narrowly avoided one of the biggest upsets of the midterm elections, edging out his Republican challenger Wednesday in a contest that neither of the two parties expected to be so close. His re-election to a sixth term leaves just one California congressional race undecided. Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, who won his suburban Sacramento seat just two years ago, was clinging to a narrow lead over his Republican challenger, former Congressman Doug Ose. Costa won after the three counties included in his 16th Congressional District — Fresno, Merced and Madera — released updated ballot counts Wednesday afternoon. He was up by about 1,300 votes out of more than 90,000 ballots cast, and his opponent, Johnny Tacherra, could not catch up with the relatively few ballots that remained uncounted. The robust challenge to Costa, whose family has farmed in the San Joaquin Valley for more than 80 years, was a surprise. Tacherra, a dairy farmer, flew so far under the radar that national and state Republicans pretty much ignored him. Costa outspent Tacherra by a margin of roughly 3-to-1, and he benefited from a 16-point voter registration edge for Democrats in the district. He had won his 2012 race by a comparable margin. But Costa, a longtime member of the state Legislature before entering Congress, also represented a heavily agricultural district that has been struggling with the effects of California's three-year drought. Many farmers blamed the federal government for making the situation worse. Tacherra seized on that frustration, accusing Costa in ads as being a rubber stamp for the "Obama agenda" and "failing us on our basic rights to water."
Written on 11/20/2014, 10:56 am by Gabriel Dillard
In the wake of a high-profile security breach, Fresno’s United Security Bank has adopted tighter security measures in hopes of protecting customers. The move comes as the banking and retail industries focuses its attention to cyber security as more hacking incidents emerge compromising millions of customers. United Security Bank agreed in June to pay $350,000 to Bakersfield oil company TRC Operating Co. to settle litigation stemming from a 2011 cyber fraud incident. Dennis Woods, president and CEO of United Security Bank, said the bank has taken on additional security measures to protect corporate customers that frequently use the online money-wiring system. TRC accounts were compromised in 2011 when 12 unauthorized transfers totaling more than $3.45 million were sent through United Security Bank’s system. The bank was able to recover all but $299,600 from the scam, which is believed to have originated in Ukraine. To help prevent such activity, Woods said the bank has added a second layer of authentication in the form of a token in addition to a password. In addition, certain online wire transfers — especially ones to foreign countries — will generate a manual call back from the bank to the customer to verify the activity, he added. Customers who use the wire transfer system are also required to take a 30-minute online training course on how to protect their own private information. “It’s a little more work, but a lot more security for them,” Woods said. “We are going back to Internet banking 101,” he added. High threat levelA recent article in American Banker magazine notes that as it gets less expensive for hackers to use the Web to steal data, it’s more expensive for banks to protect against those intrusions. Julie Bonnel-Rogers is a business litigation attorney with the Mezzetti Law Firm in San Jose. Bonnel-Rogers represented TRC in its lawsuit against United Security Bank. She said the global cyber security threat is increasing each day. "The wrongdoers are becoming more sophisticated,” she said. “It’s an ongoing war.” When it comes to online banking, Bonnel-Rogers said any small business is susceptible to any type of security breach. And once thieves have stolen what they were looking for, it’s hard for the customer to get that money back from the bank, she added. Litigation is often the only redress, and that can be a losing proposition for the customer in terms of cost. The escrow industry — with its large deposits of money sitting idle in accounts — is especially susceptible, Bonnel-Rogers said. A February report from California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris relayed the story of Efficient Services Escrow Group in Huntington Beach. The company was a victim of a cyberheist worth $1.5 million, and was forced to close and lay off its entire staff. The company’s other money is in the hands of a court-appointed receiver as the company preps a lawsuit against its financial institution. Communication is keyBonnel-Rogers suggests that banking customers be aware of the measures their institution takes to protect data. Customers should seek out multiple-factor authentication systems, and not be afraid to shop around and compare among banks. She said large national banks and banks that use a third-party solution for their banking system are best positioned to protect customers. She said it’s also the bank’s responsibility for the information technology department to be in contact with the sales and marketing departments to effectively communicate those measures to customers. Some insurance company’s also offer data breach insurance to business clients that would protect the company in the case of an incident. The state Attorney General report illustrates how pervasive the problem is among small companies. It found that that 50 percent of all targeted attacks in 2012 were aimed at business with less than 2,500 employees. Businesses with fewer than 250 employees were the target of 31 percent of all cyber attacks. --- Steps businesses should take to protect data 1.    Assume you’re a target — any company can be a victim, regardless of size or profile in the community. 2.    Lead by example — business owners and executive management shouldn’t see cyber security as the domain of the IT person. 3.    Map your data — know what types of data you have and the location of the data. 4.    Encrypt your data — encrypting data encodes it so those without encryption keys cannot read it. 5.    Bank securely — business owners should only perform online banking functions on a secure browser connection, and in a browser’s “private mode” so browser cache, temporary Internet files, cookies and browser history will not be recorded. 6.    Defend yourself — use available security measures, including firewalls, antivirus software and other Internet security solutions, including the ability to remotely locate or “wipe” a device that has gone missing. 7.    Educate employees — confer to your workers the value of your business’s intellectual property to help prevent data loss or insider risks. 8.    Be password wise — change any default username or passwords on any device, since anything is better than the default, and don’t let browsers remember your passwords. 9.    Operate securely — use layered security defenses and keep all operating systems and software up to date, and don’t install software you did not specifically seek out. 10.     Plan for the worst — every business should have a disaster recovery plan so when an incident occurs, there will be a defined incident response team with a leader, and everyone has clear responsibilities should an incident arise. Source: “Cybersecurity in the Golden State” report by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.
Written on 11/20/2014, 10:49 am by MATTHEW PERRONE, AP Health Writer
(AP) — Federal health regulators have approved the first hard-to-abuse version of the painkiller hydrocodone, offering an alternative to a similar medication that has been widely criticized for lacking such safeguards. The Food and Drug Administration approved Purdue Pharma's Hysingla ER, for patients with severe, round-the-clock pain that cannot be managed with other treatments. The once-a-day tablet is designed to resist attempts to crush it for snorting or injecting. Purdue Pharma's new drug poses a direct commercial challenge to Zogenix's much-debated drug Zohydro, a twice-a-day hydrocodone tablet approved by the FDA last year. Doctors prescribe opioids for a range of ailments, from post-surgical pain to arthritis and migraines. Deaths linked to abuse of the medications have quadrupled since 1990 to nearly 17,000 annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Written on 11/20/2014, 10:48 am by SCOTT MAYEROWITZ, 
MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writers
(AP) — The good news for Thanksgiving travelers: the price of gas is at five-year lows. The bad news: a lot more people will be on the road. During the long holiday weekend, 46.3 million Americans are expected to go 50 miles or more from home, the highest number since 2007, according to travel agency and car lobbying group AAA. That would be a 4.2 percent increase over last year. While promising for the travel industry, the figure is still 8.5 percent short of the 50.6 million high point reached in 2007, just before the recession. Like on every other holiday, the overwhelming majority of travelers — almost 90 percent — will be driving. The numbers on the gas station signs will be much kinder this year. AAA says the average retail price for gasoline is $2.85 per gallon, 43 cents cheaper than Thanksgiving Day last year. With the average car getting 18.5 miles per gallon, that means a family driving 300 miles will save $6.97 in fuel this holiday. Those flying won't be so lucky. Average airfares are $307.52, up 1.1 from last year, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp., which processes ticket transactions for airlines and travel agencies. That figure doesn't include an average of $51 in additional taxes and fees that passengers pay. There will be 12.3 million roundtrip passengers, globally, on U.S. airlines during the holiday travel period, up 1.5 percent from last year, according to the industry's lobbying group, Airlines for America. (AAA's forecast shows fewer numbers of fliers because it looks at a five-day period while the airline group looks at the 12 days surrounding Thanksgiving.) Those travelers staying at hotels will also spend more than last year. The average room rate so far this year is $115.85, up 4.6 percent from the same prior last year, according to travel research firm STR. If you're among the Thanksgiving travelers driving to your destination, Wednesday's getaway traffic produces the gnarliest snarls from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in most areas, according to analysis of the roads in 21 major U.S. cities by Google Inc. The Internet company drew its conclusions by following the locations of smartphones that used its Android operating system and popular mapping service during the week of Thanksgiving in 2012 and last year. For those driving on Thanksgiving day, the most congestion crops up from noon to 2 p.m., according to Google. The worst time to drive back home typically is the Saturday after Thanksgiving when Google concluded the average traffic is about 40 percent higher than on the Sunday after the holiday. Pittsburgh was the city among the 21 studied by Google where the traffic was slightly heavier on the Sunday after Thanksgiving than on the Saturday. Last year's biggest Thanksgiving-week traffic spikes occurred in Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, Washington D.C. and Dallas, according to Google. Denver, Boston, Providence, Rhode Island and Seattle registered the smallest changes in traffic. Even if you aren't leaving of town, expect long lines when stocking up on food and drink on the day before Thanksgiving. Google says the most searched categories on its mapping service during the past two years have been "ham shop," ''pie shop" and "liquor store." Once Thanksgiving dinner is done, people turn their attention to the next big holiday. The Friday after Thanksgiving ranks among the busiest shopping days of the year as gift-givers seek out bargains. And one of the top terms entered into Google's maps that day is "Christmas tree farm." __Liedtke reported from San Francisco.
Written on 11/20/2014, 10:46 am by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
(AP) — An index designed to predict the future health of the economy rose in October at the fastest pace in three months. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.9 percent last month following a 0.7 percent rise in September, which had been initially reported as a slightly stronger 0.8 percent gain. The October reading was the best showing since a 1.2 percent jump in July. Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said the October performance "points to continued economic growth through the holiday season and into early 2015." But he said there were continuing concerns about slow business investment and lackluster income growth. The leading index is composed of 10 forward-pointing indicators and eight showed strength in October, led by favorable interest rates and gains in manufacturing orders. Stock prices were a drag on the index in October and average weekly manufacturing hours held steady. The overall economy grew at a solid 3.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter and many economists believe growth will remain at a healthy pace of around 3 percent over the next year.

Latest State News

Written on 11/20/2014, 11:39 am by Lisa Leff, AP Writer
(AP) — The University of California...
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:34 am by Associated Press
(AP) — California regulators have...
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:32 am by Sudhin Thanawala, AP Writer
(AP) — State regulators have decided to...
Written on 11/20/2014, 11:28 am by Associated Press
(AP) — A Southern California doctor has...

Latest National News

Written on 11/20/2014, 10:49 am by MATTHEW PERRONE, AP Health Writer
(AP) — Federal health regulators have...
Written on 11/20/2014, 10:48 am by SCOTT MAYEROWITZ, 
MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writers
(AP) — The good news for Thanksgiving...
Written on 11/20/2014, 10:46 am by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
(AP) — An index designed to predict the...
Written on 11/20/2014, 10:45 am by NANCY BENAC, Associated Press
(AP) — After years of wrangling with...