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Talking Points

What you may have missed from the week in business


In pay debate, CEOs lose one, win one

Staples president and chief executive Ronald Sargent.Lisa Poole/Associated Press/File 2004

Shareholders of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. showed their unhappiness over the Boston biotech’s pay packages for top executives, in an advisory vote that amounted to a rebuff of management as the company awaits a decision on US approval of an important cystic fibrosis drug. In the “say-on-pay” resolution, 55 percent of the Vertex shares cast went against the 2014 compensation plan, which included $36.6 million for chief executive Jeffrey M. Leiden. So far this year, stockholders have voted against executive compensation only 2 percent of the time in nonbinding say-on-pay votes, according to figures compiled by Institutional Shareholder Services. Staples Inc. shareholders approved the Framingham retailer’s 2014 executive compensation package in their annual nonbinding vote, including $12.4 million for chief executive Ronald Sargent.



Economy shows signs of heating up

The economy is showing signs of heating up again after a brutal winter in many parts of the United States brought growth to a standstill in the first quarter. Employers added 280,000 jobs in May, the biggest monthly increase of 2015, the Labor Department reported Friday. Combined payroll gains were revised upward for the previous two months, wages rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier, and long-term unemployment fell to 2.5 million, down from a peak of 6.8 million in 2010.


Back Bay buildings on the block for $1.5 billion

500 Boylston St.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File

Two well-known office and retail buildings along Boylston Street in the Back Bay are on the market for $1.5 billion, one of the highest asking prices for commercial space in Boston’s history. New York-based Blackstone Group LP is preparing to sell the abutting office buildings at 500 Boylston St. and 222 Berkeley St., according to a Boston real estate executive familiar with Blackstone’s offering. A sale for $1.5 billion would put the price at nearly $1,150 per square foot, far higher than the selling prices of other commercial properties in Boston’s key business districts, which rarely top $700 per square foot.



Agents can be classified as contractors

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Massachusetts real estate brokerages can continue to classify their workers as independent contractors, ruling against agents who claimed they were treated like traditional employees and should have received hourly pay and benefits. The decision, issued Wednesday, appeared to put to rest concerns among real estate industry groups that brokerages could be on the hook for back payments to their agents, plus damages, and subject to higher expenses going forward.


Dershowitz sues Garden

Alan Dershowitz.Andrew Innerarity/Reuters/File 2015

Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor emeritus known as a zealous civil liberties advocate, is suing TD Garden nearly three years after a slip and fall in an arena bathroom during a Celtics game that he blamed on a depleted supply of paper towels near the sinks. “This dangerous condition allowed water from the recently washed hands of each of the myriad bathroom users to drip or be ‘shaken’ onto the floor, negligently creating a hazardous situation for all users, “ according to a complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court. Dershowitz, 76, claims in court documents that he “violently slipped, causing him to fall upward and then hard upon the tile floor.” A spokeswoman for the Garden declined to comment on the lawsuit.


Sandberg ends mourning

Sheryl Sandberg ended a period of mourning following the death of her husband by saying, ‘‘I want to choose life and meaning.’’ Sandberg, Facebook’s No. 2 executive, lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, to a treadmill accident while on vacation in Mexico a month ago. Wednesday, she took to her Facebook page to mark the end of an official Jewish mourning period by writing that she wants to ‘‘give back some of what others have given me.’’ Sandberg, who has two young children, wrote that ‘‘the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through.”



Kinder Morgan scales back pipeline proposal

Kinder Morgan Inc. is scaling back the scope of its plan to build a network of natural gas pipelines stretching from Western Massachusetts, through southern New Hampshire, and into the Merrimack Valley, because it cannot find enough customers. In a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, the Houston company said it is dropping plans for a nearly 15-mile spur, or lateral line, through 156 properties in seven Massachusetts towns — Bolton, Berlin, Boylston, Northborough, West Boylston, Shrewsbury, and Worcester. The cutback does not affect Kinder Morgan’s larger proposal to build a 64-mile main gas line through 30 other towns in Massachusetts.


Walsh administration skips meeting

The Walsh administration skipped the first meeting of a working group assembled to broker a peace agreement between Boston city officials and Wynn Resorts over the extra traffic that would be drawn into the city by the company’s proposed casino in Everett. Boston’s failure to appear at the table represented the latest bureaucratic hurdle in the way of Wynn’s ambitious plans to build a $1.7 billion complex on the banks of the Mystic River, next to the Boston city limits. Boston sued the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in January over its approval of Wynn’s proposal. A spokeswoman for Walsh on Monday cited that lawsuit as the reason the mayor’s team was a no-show.



DraftKings inks Madison Square Garden deal

DraftKings Inc. signed a multiyear marketing agreement with Madison Square Garden Co., displacing rival FanDuel Inc. in a contract that gives the daily fantasy sports company its first sponsorship that includes multiple teams and a venue. As part of the contract, Boston-based DraftKings will have a designated space inside the arena and have its logo on game uniforms and warmup shirts for New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association. Financial terms were not disclosed. DraftKings becomes the exclusive official daily fantasy sports partner of MSG’s sports teams, which include basketball’s Knicks and hockey’s Rangers.


Slim and soft

For more than a century, women have worn girdles, corsets, and recently Spanx underclothes to slim their waists and smooth the contours of their bodies. Now, a local entrepreneur is selling a product that infuses moisturizers, and a little bit of science, into modern shapewear. Skin-Eez is a line of figure-flattering undergarments with micro-capsules built into the fabric that break open to release moisturizers into the skin, according to Michelle Moran, the founder and chief executive of Skin-Eez Skincare in Sudbury. Moran recently landed a deal with the retail giant Target, which on Monday plans to launch an initial run of garments in 50 stores and online, she said.