Latest business headlines

The latest business news from the region and nation

Scott Kirsner | Innovation Economy

A courtyard view of Boston’s tech economy

The courtyard behind the Charles Hotel holds a mirror to what we’re good at, and how we could get even better.

Social media brings risks, benefits to workplaces

Social media can often liberate that valuable information in the enterprise. But it’s not always a good thing.

Condo sales, prices continue upward in Boston

The price increase was highest in the waterfront neighborhood, boosted by sales in luxury buildings.

When to say no to a prescription

A recent survey of 1,000 adults by Consumer Reports found that patients are often prescribed antibiotics when the drugs aren’t necessary.

With customer service problems, don’t wait too long to escalate

Asking for some higher-level help early on might get your issue resolved sooner.

Lab director at cutting edge of genetics testing

Stephanie Hallam, medical director at Good Start Genetics, manages a state-of-the-art lab at the Cambridge genetics testing firm.


Google Drive experiencing ‘service disruption’

Google is aware of the situation and said in a message posted to Twitter that the company is “on it.”

Verastem lays off half its staff

The layoffs come after a failed clinical trial for a cancer drug produced by the company.

Finance officials to clamp down on multinational tax evasion

Finance officials from the world’s 20 biggest economies have committed to toughening laws and boosting cross-border cooperation.

Five things you should know about Steve Grossman

The former state treasurer is once again helping small businesses gain access to capital.


LogMeIn to pay up to $125m for password manager LastPass

Users save passwords in a cloud-based storage system and access them with a single master password.


Netflix hikes price by $1 for new customers

The new price of $10 per month for the company’s most popular plan marks the second time in 17 months it has boosted its US rates by $1.

Cushman taps Fallon to run New England office

The veteran broker has been named New England market leader at Cushman & Wakefield.

EMC-Dell talks reflect a data storage industry in flux

Demand for the “big iron” data-storage systems that made EMC’s fortune has fallen in recent years.

Gross sues Pimco, says ouster profit-driven

The cofounder of Pacific Investment Management Co. accused the bond giant of pushing him out in order to divvy up his 20 percent share of the profit pool.

In a close call, weakness abroad tipped Fed vote

The effect of a slowdown on American exports and commodity prices, combined with fewer signs of inflation, stayed their hand.


Sony executive sees broad hacking threat

“There’s no question in my mind that we’re all equally vulnerable,” Michael Lynton said Thursday at a HUBweek event.

Shirley Leung

With cult-like following, Wegmans has indeed arrived in Mass.

The chain, which is expanding in the state, has a cult-like following that comes from its appeal to value shoppers and foodies.

US backs ban of shipping batteries on planes

The risk of unstoppable fires is prompting US officials to back a proposed international ban on rechargeable lithium battery shipments as cargo on passenger airlines.

Talking points

Eight things you may have missed Thursday from the world of business

Former tech executive charged with wire fraud, Netflix raising price of standard video plan by $1, and more news from Thursday.

Markets snapshot: Stocks rise, keeping the rally alive

Signs that the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates low for several more months pushed stocks broadly higher on Thursday.

Banks took little note of busy Ponzi suspect

Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho set up at least 17 bank accounts in the name of his company — DFRF Enterprises, derived from his initials — and signed his own name. Daniel Fernandes Rojo Filho set up at least 17 bank accounts in the name of his company — DFRF Enterprises, derived from his initials — and signed his own name.


Ironwood’s chief ‘drug hunter’ sometimes ends hunts with a wake

“We want people to know that if you’re being innovative, you’re sometimes going to fail,” says Mark Currie.

Amid auto boom, Boch cashes out while Chambers expands

Two of Boston’s famous auto dealers, Ernie Boch Jr. and Herb Chambers, are taking different paths in the flourishing market.


Can electricity alleviate what ails you?

DARPA awarded a grant to Polina Anikeeva, a professor a MIT who has been working on ways to stimulate specific neurons in the body using wires or nanoparticles.

Friday’s business agenda

Beantown Throwdown, marketing training, and more notable events and things to know.

Hubway service proving popular with Boston’s landlords

The bike service is the latest must-have cool amenity and a number of real estate operators are sponsoring stations.

Fallon Health buys Pembroke benefits manager

The move by Fallon Health, a nonprofit health insurer, will add 17,000 people to its membership.


Seven Boston-area companies named to Inner City top 100 list

“These businesses are showing there’s a competitive advantage to operating in the inner cities,” said one official.

TelexFree trustee says alleged fraud swells to $3 billion

The scope of the alleged Ponzi scheme has tripled, according to Stephen Darr, who said at least 1 million people opened accounts.

Geico sues Dorchester chiropractor, financier alleging fraud

The auto insurance company said Big City Chiropractic and PS Funding ran a racket that cost Geico more than $100,000.

Volkswagen official says emissions fix may take a year

The repair, which would be applicable to almost 70 percent of those vehicles, may consume as many as 10 hours of work per car.

Scandinavian Airlines to offer nonstop service to Copenhagen

It will be the first airline at Logan International Airport to offer nonstop service to Scandinavia.

Etiquette at Work

Restaurant tipping: Is it on the way out?

As a consumer, I like the idea of moving away from the 20 percent tipping world.

Cambridge tech executive charged with wire fraud

Andy Kim, a former controller at an unnamed company, was charged after he allegedly embezzled $1 million.

Middlesex Savings Bank gets new president

Michael McAuliffe has been named president with the expectation that he will take over as chief executive of the 180-year-old institution in April.

Holiday sales predicted to rise 3.7 percent

Americans are expected to spend at a slower pace than last year during the crucial winter holidays, weighed down by sluggish wage growth and other factors.

Oil price plunge forces spending cuts in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is ordering a series of cost- cutting measures as the slide in oil prices weighs on the kingdom’s budget, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Amazon challenges Etsy with Handmade at Amazon

Amazon is hoping to capitalize on shoppers’ appetite for homemade goods ahead of the holiday season.

Hiawatha Bray | Tech Lab

Data privacy? It’s mostly gone, but that can change

Just about everything we do these days is under some form of electronic surveillance.


Former A123 chief aims beyond electric cars

Dave Vieau has started a grid-level energy storage company whose batteries are designed to hold a charge for longer and outlive the alternatives.

US proposes ending forced arbitration

Suing your bank or debt collector might be getting a whole lot easier.

DraftKings CEO defends ethics, balks at regulation

Chief executive Jason Robins mounted a spirited defense of his company’s handling of a controversial internal data leak.

Dell said to be in talks to acquire EMC

The possibility of an EMC merger would worry many in Massachusetts, where EMC employs about 9,500 people.

Major General Electric unit planning move to Greater Boston

The industrial giant still needs to figure out where the new division will be based, and how many people it wants to move here.

Volkswagen’s US chief knew of a problem in 2014

The head of Volkswagen’s American business knew about a potential emissions problem earlier than previously acknowledged by top management.

Talking points

Eight things you may have missed Wednesday from the world of business

Pure Storage stock falls on first day of trading, Amazon offers new products, and more news from Wednesday.

Years of lackluster returns distress Harvard’s president

It’s a rare day when Harvard president Drew Faust frets openly about the endowment’s performance. But that’s what she did this week.


Cyber companies join forces in $30.5m deal

The Israeli cybersecurity company with its US headquarters in Waltham will pay $30.5 million to acquire Waltham-based Viewfinity Inc.

Markets snapshot: Health stocks help lift the market

Stocks posted solid gains in a quiet session Wednesday, helped by advances in health-care and industrial companies.

Bold Types

Davio’s owner celebrates three decades

Not many young people achieve their childhood dream by the time they’re 24, and not many restaurateurs can keep their establishments in business over three decades.

Dell, EMC in possible merger talks, according to report

The future of EMC Corp., the state’s largest technology firm, has been in doubt as its storage business has stagnated.

STAT | Kendall Squared

Kendall Square opens its doors to the public for HUBweek

The open house in Kendall Square will feature tours, talks — and lots of honeybees.


Aquto taps into appetite for sponsored data

Boston-based Aquto said it has raised $8 million in Series B funding to provide more users with access to sponsored data. 

Chinese hackers said to infiltrate LoopPay

Months before its technology became the centerpiece of Samsung’s new mobile payment system, the small Mass. subsidiary was targeted.

Thursday’s business agenda

Mortgage rates, Small Business Expo, and more notable events and things to know.

GE to spin off new energy technologies in to company based in Mass.

The company will focus on providing products and services in energy efficiency, renewable generation, and storage.

New 17-story hotel proposed in Chinatown

Developers filed plans for the hotel on Essex Street, which would replace a building that had long housed a seafood market and noodle factory.


DraftKings, FanDuel broaden ban on employees playing fantasy sports for cash

The new step follows a day of heated questions — some of them from lawmakers and regulators — about the kind of data fantasy sports employees can access.

AG says more than 12,000 Mainers affected by data breach

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says more than 12,000 Maine residents who use T-Mobile wireless may have had personal data exposed in a recent breach.

Quartet Medicine adds $6 million for chronic pain treatment research

The Cambridge pharmaceutical company has now raised $23.3 million from investors

TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz is exiting in style

Meyrowitz, 61, will become executive chairman of TJX Cos., and Ernie Herrman will succeed her as chief executive on Jan. 31.

South Boston manufacturer lays off 47 workers

Gentex Corp., a Carbondale, Penn. company that makes helmets for soldiers and emergency responders, will lay off 47 workers from its South Boston manufacturing site.

Former A123 boss aims beyond electric cars

As more solar panels and wind turbines are added to the electric grid, Vionx is pitching its energy storage systems as a long-running backup.

Friendly’s founder asks college to remove name from building

American International College in Springfield complied with the request from Curtis Blake on Tuesday.

Budweiser owner ups takeover offer for Miller parent

Anheuser-Busch InBev sweetened its offer for SABMiller to more than $104 billion.

In sale, Radius Bank will cut most union ties

Radius Bank, started by and for local union carpenters, is about to be bought by the ultimate capitalists: private equity firms.

City seeks proposals for housing database for the homeless

In an effort to address the city’s rising homeless population, the City of Boston is set to announce Wednesday that it is seeking vendors to develop an online database that will match housing vacancies with people in the greatest need.


FDA official took name off papers

President Obama’s nominee to lead the agency recently coauthored a series of scientific papers but asked that his name be removed before publication.

Markets snapshot: Biotechs weigh down the market

US stocks paused Tuesday, closing moderately lower after five straight days of gains.

Top EU court strikes down data-sharing pact

The European Court of Justice on Tuesday struck down a trans-Atlantic agreement that enables companies to transfer data from Europe to the US.

Shirley Leung

Teamsters case casts an unwanted cloud over City Hall

Questions about Marty Walsh’s loyalty came roaring back after City Hall was mentioned in an indictment accusing members of Teamsters Local 25 of extortion.

Brighton veterans housing plan meets a powerful foe

The backers of an affordable housing project in the neighborhood are learning it’s a good idea to get William Galvin on board.

FAA proposes $1.9m fine for drone operator

The fine was proposed for an aerial photography firm for flying in New York and Chicago airspace.

Long-lasting antipsychotic by Alkermes gets OK

Aristada is an extended-release version of Abilify, a best-selling antipsychotic that earned more than $9 billion worldwide last year.

Talking points

Eight things you may have missed Tuesday from the world of business

Volkswagen may cut jobs amid scandal, Pumpkin supply is stretched thin, and more news from Tuesday.

California governor OKs expansive new equal pay protections

Female workers in California will get new tools to challenge gender-based wage gaps under the new legislation.

Microsoft unveils new Surface laptop, other updates

Microsoft unveiled a new laptop, a tablet, three phones, and a fitness tracker meant to keep people tied to its array of online services.

New auto safety technologies leave some drivers bewildered

Bewildered drivers sometimes just turn them off, defeating the safety potential.

Attorney general in New York opens inquiry into sports sites

The inquiry comes amid questions about the internal operations of fantasy sports sites.