Pandora eyes reduction in royalty expenses

Oakland-based Pandora Media expects the royalties that it pays to artists and record labels to decline to 40 percent of revenue, compared with the current level of 60 percent.

The estimate, provided by Chief Financial Officer Mike Herring, comes at a time when Pandora, the largest Internet radio service, is battling with rising music costs.

Pandora is attempting to cope with royalty rates and is attempting to boost the revenue it receives from advertising. It expects to reach that target over the next few years, Herring said at an investor conference in Southern California's Dana Point.

The company's advertising revenue amounts to about 1 percent of the radio industry's total, yet it has a listener share of 8.5 percent. Pandora is seeking to bring its ad share closer to its listener share.

On March 7, the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results and said CEO Joe Kennedy would be leaving.

Williams-Sonoma profit and sales rise

San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma said its profit and sales rose in the fourth quarter that ended in January, a three-month period that coincided with the crucial holiday shopping season.

The retailer earned $133.7 million on revenue of $1.41 billion for the November-January quarter, said the company, whose stores operate under the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm and Rejuvenation brand names.

Compared with the year-ago quarter, profit rose 9.1 percent and revenue climbed 10.9 percent.

"We finished 2012 above our expectations," CEO Laura Alber said. "Our strategies for 2013 are strong."

Over the 12 months that ended in January, the retailer increased the number of stores it operates to 581 compared with 576 the year before.

California Bank of Commerce names CEO

Lafayette-based California Bank of Commerce has hired a bank consultant, Terry Peterson, as its new chief executive.

The community bank said Peterson also will join its board of directors.

Peterson recently has been working as a consultant to banks in Washington state, Oregon and Nevada. He also co-founded Charter Bank in Washington state and was a Seattle-based executive for KeyCorp.

"Terry brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking and management," said Stephen Cortese, chairman of California Bank of Commerce. Cortese cited Peterson's experience in starting a bank, working at a large commercial bank and as a consultant.

California Bank of Commerce has one branch and $349 million in assets.

-- Staff