Daily Business Report — Aug. 22, 2014
Peregrine Semiconductor executives at the opening of trading of the stock on NASDAQ in 2012. (Courtesy NASDAQ)
Japanese Firm Buys Peregrine Semiconductor
Murata Electronics North America announced today it will buy San Diego chip maker Peregrine Semiconductor in a deal valued at $471 million.
Both companies make specialized chips for smartphones and other communications products. Peregrine, founded in 1988, developed a unique technology known as silicon on insulator, or SOI.
After the transaction, Peregrine will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Murata.
“Murata is the world’s leading RF module and filter provider, and we have benefited from our many years of partnership with them. The combination of Murata’s leading products with Peregrine’s leading-edge SOI products will position us to compete aggressively in our chosen markets,” said Jim Cable, chairman and CEO of Peregrine Semiconductor.
The transaction, which has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors, is expected to close by the end of 2014 or early 2015, subject to Peregrine’s stockholders’ approval, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions.
— Times of San Diego
Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Community
Colleges to Offer Bachelor’s Degrees
The California Legislature on Thursday approved a historic bill that would allow a limited number of community colleges to grant four-year degrees. Senate Bill 850, authored by Marty Block (D-San Diego) would establish a pilot program with 15 community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees in select workforce majors. Mesa College would be one of the first community colleges to grant four-year degrees if the bill is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. He has until Sept. 30 to act on it.
“This is landmark legislation that is a game changer for California’s higher education system and our workforce preparedness,” Block said. “SB 850 boosts the focus of our community colleges on job training now when California faces a major skills gap in our workforce.”
Under the bill, bachelor’s degrees could only be offered as early as January 2015 in areas where public universities do not offer such a program, cannot accommodate student demand, or do not have the interest. These include program areas such as dental hygiene, radiologic technology, health information science/infomatics, and automotive technology.
Three North County Cities Cancel Their Elections
For the first time, three cities in San Diego County have canceled their fall elections. The reason? There was only one eligible candidate per open seat in San Marcos, Del Mar and Solana Beach so the city councils voted to save money and simply appoint the candidates.
California law allows cities to cancel elections in strict circumstances. Some cities — most notably Solana Beach — have invoked the law in the past, but this is the first time three cities locally took action.
Election Code Section 10229 says cities can cancel elections when “no one or only one person has been nominated for any office that is elected on a citywide basis.”
For all three cities the period to apply to run had already closed, although there was still time for individuals to submit their names for a write-in campaign. However, after the election is canceled “officials shall not accept for filing any statement of write-in candidacy.”
Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu told inewsource this was a way to save the city and residents money. Holding the election was estimated to cost as much as $8,000.
“I think it’s a waste of citizens’ money because citizens will be asked to give a contribution to the candidates to help them go out with their pamphlets and their filing papers and all that,” Haydu said.
All three cities voted 3-2 to cancel their elections on the same day — Wednesday — because they were required to make a decision by the 75th day before the election scheduled for Nov. 4.
Survey: San Diego City Pension
System Best in Nation in Performance
The online publication Reuters PE Hub on Thursday named the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System as the best public pension plan in the country when it comes to the performance of its private equity portfolio.
The results follow a survey in July of more than 160 public pension funds nationwide.
“The success of SDCERS’ private equity program can be attributed to the thoughtful way in which the program was constructed, and the quality of the dialogue between staff and consultants,” SDCERS CEO Mark Hovey said.
SDCERS’ private equity portfolio consists of 45 different funds, with commitments of $580 million. The survey noted 47 percent of SDCERS’ funds performed in the top 25 percent of all funds surveyed. The private equity program invests in all types of assets and strategies globally, including buyouts, special situations and venture capital funds.
“The independent acknowledgement that SDCERS is performing exceptionally well demonstrates the great improvements made over the past decade,” said San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria
— City News Service
Unlikely Entrepreneurs Create San Diego Flag
Two unlikely entrepreneurs, a community college chancellor and a public radio host, have created a new flag for San Diego.
Constance Carroll and Martha Barnette founded San Diego Republic and joined forces to produce T-shirts and other products that feature a panda in place of the California flag’s famous stalking grizzly.
Carroll, who is chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, designed and drew the logo, which is a take-off on the California flag using a more “coastal” color palette.
“This logo ties a number of themes together, highlighting San Diego as an important city in California, in a manner that both tourists and residents might appreciate,” said Carroll.
“Just as important, the star of the logo is the panda. Pandas are extremely important and well-known residents of the San Diego Zoo that are becoming quite popular as a San Diego image,” said Barnette, who is co-host of “A Way With Words,” which is produced in San Diego and broadcast in over 250 cities.
The T-shirts are available at the Simply Local store in Seaport Village, and online at sandiegorepublic.com.
The pair is working on a small plush toy panda wearing a San Diego Republic T-shirt, as well as other clothing.
“We are both devoted to San Diego,” said Carroll, “and we want to do our part in promoting ‘America’s finest city’ in an upbeat and creative manner.”
— Times of San Diego
Stephen F. Heinemann 1939-2014
Stephen F. Heinemann, a Salk neuroscientist and expert on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, died after a long illness on Aug. 6 in San Diego. He was 75.
Heinemann joined Salk’s faculty in 1970 and established the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory. By the late 1980s, his program ranked No. 1 worldwide.
“Steve was a giant of 20th century neuroscience,” said William Brody, president of the Salk Institute. “His discoveries opened many avenues to better understand the function of the brain and for pursuing new therapies for neurological disorders.”
Born Feb. 11, 1939 in Boston, Heinemann earned a bachelor’s degree from the California Institute of Technology, a PhD in biochemistry from Harvard University and completed postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University School of Medicine.
A president of the Society for Neuroscience, his honors include the Bristol-Myers Squibb Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research Award and the Julius Axelrod Prize.
Heinemann is survived by his wife, the former Ann Reischauer; sons Nate, Danny, Quentin and Tad; daughter Eden Westgarth; sisters Marcia Saunders, Kristel Heinemann, Marianna Holzer and Heidi Holzer; and 12 grandchildren.