OCBJ is Up on Henry Nicholas, Down on Angels, Cary Bren

Henry-T-Nicholas.jpgOrange County Business Journal has some enlightening items in this week's issue, although you have to hunt for most of them. That, of course, is not the case with "OC Insider," the weekly column by executive editor Rick Reiff, a seasoned pro who knows to start off with his most newsworthy stuff: 

The ankle monitor is off, he's finalizing his divorce and his first trial isn't scheduled until February. You don't expect hyperactive Henry Nicholas to sit still, do you?

I'd link you to the rest if I could (I ain't paying dem capitalists for no web subscription, maaaan . . .). Reiff fills readers in on what Henry T. Nicholas III (pictured), the co-founder and former CEO of Irvine chipmaker Broadcom, is up to (business matters, including cashing in on "recession-created" opportunities), how he'll improve his shattered image (charity endeavors), why you should not feel bad for him in the divorce (he'll still be worth a billion or more than you after the settlement) and why you should not bet against him in his looming federal drug trial (his lawyer got charges dismissed against former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn and charges reduced against "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh).

On the same page, OCBJ's Michael Volpe reports on the sale of new seats on the field at Angel Stadium, but you have to wait until the jump to get to the meaty part: corporate suite sales--the ticket-selling sector professional franchises deem as essential to acquiring the best players and producing winning teams--are tanking. Before last season, when the wheels were coming off the nation's economy, companies were hesitant to buy season tickets for the dugout and other suites. That has turned into "full-fledged avoidance," according to Robert Alvarado, vice president of marketing and ticket sales for Angels Baseball LP.

He characterized it as the worst downturn the team has seen and conceded overall season ticket sales are also striking out, although he would not share hard numbers. Some companies have dropped out completely, while others are trying to renegotiate their contracts. In the past, there would have been a waiting list of firms ready to buy in place of dropouts but not anymore. The worst trend Alvarado has noticed is larger companies wanting to opt out, especially if they have received federal money, to avoid any public relations backlash. On the bright side, he said the problem is infecting all of Major League Baseball.

Just below Volpe's piece is Mark Mueller's story (sorry, also subscription only on the web) on the financial troubles rocking Irvine-based California Pacific Homes, which until stopping last year had been building almost exclusively on Irvine Co. land within the Irvine Ranch. There is no mention of homes for sale or impending projects on the company's website and speculation swirls the company may be mothballed until the housing market improves.

But, again, it's on the jump page, in the third-to-last paragraph, where you learn company president Cary Bren is the son of Irvine Co. chairman Donald Bren, who started California Pacific Homes decades ago and turned the company over to his son in 2000--for an undisclosed sum. That Don Bren always knows when to sell, doesn't he?

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