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Times Staff and Wire Reports

Lazard Freres & Co. has opened an office in San Francisco, in a move to expand its investment banking business with companies and investment firms on the West Coast. . . . Los Angeles-based Times Mirror Co. said it bought back 12.5 million shares and share equivalents this year for about $420 million, and plans to spend about the same amount on buybacks next year. . . . Santa Clara-based Visx Inc. said its laser-surgery treatment for astigmatism will receive a panel review from the Food and Drug Administration in January. . . . San Francisco-based First Republic Bancorp Inc. said it named Katherine August-deWilde to the new position of chief operating officer.

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