Business & Tech


What you might have missed Tuesday from the world of business


Selecta Biosciences files for IPO

Selecta Biosciences Inc., a Watertown biotech company developing targeted therapies and vaccines, Tuesday registered to sell its shares in an initial public offering. In a regulatory filing, eight-year-old Selecta did not specify when it would go public but said it would seek to raise up to $75 million, a placeholder sum that could change when the company prices its shares. The filing said its shares would trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol SELB. The company is developing treatments for a broad range of diseases and allergies. Its lead drug candidate, which is in clinical trials, treats a form of gout.



Toyota expands recall over air bags

Toyota is recalling more than 1.5 million additional vehicles in the United States over concerns with air bag inflaters from the Japanese parts manufacturer Takata. The announcement late Monday came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration accelerated moves to recall vehicles fitted with the potentially dangerous air bag inflater, which is already the subject of the world’s largest auto safety recall. The inflaters use ammonium nitrate, which can become unstable when exposed to heat and humidity. That can cause ruptures when the air bags deploy, sending metal parts hurling into the cabin.




Boston Properties expands to Los Angeles

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Boston-based office giant Boston Properties has long been laser-focused on four cities: Its hometown, New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Now it’s adding a fifth: Los Angeles. Boston Properties said Tuesday that it is buying a stake in a big office complex in Santa Monica, Calif. It will spend $511.1 million to buy just under half an interest in the 1.2 million-square-foot Colorado Center, a tech- and media-focused office campus in one of the most affluent pockets of Southern California, a block from a brand-new light rail line to downtown L.A. The company has invested heavily in downtown and other high-value areas in its four markets. In Boston it owns the John Hancock Tower, the Prudential Center, and a big chunk of Kendall Square, and is launching development projects atop both North Station and Back Bay Station. It is similarly invested in prime areas of Manhattan and San Francisco.



Home sales surge in Massachusetts

Sales of single-family homes in Massachusetts soared to their highest level for the month of April in more than a decade, according to two organizations that track the housing market. The Warren Group reported Tuesday that sales jumped almost 35 percent last month when compared to April 2015, for the industry’s best April since 2005. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported a 26 percent leap in year-over-year sales, with the most closed sales for April since 2004. The organizations use different numbers in their calculations. The Realtors said the median price rose almost 8 percent compared to April 2015 to $350,000. The Warren Group reported an almost 4 percent jump in the median price to $336,850. A mild winter and the threat of rising interest rates drove many buyers.



New York AG sues Domino’s over pay


The state’s attorney general in New York has sued Domino’s Pizza Inc., affiliates, and three franchisees alleging they underpaid workers based on payroll reports generated by the parent company’s computer system. Eric Schneiderman said the company knew since at least 2007 that its PULSE system’s payroll software undercalculated gross wages while still encouraging franchisees to use it. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company called Schneiderman’s lawsuit disappointing, saying it ‘‘disregards the nature of franchising and demeans the role of small business owners.’’ The company said it has worked with his office for three years trying to help franchises comply with New York’s complex wage laws.



Hewlett Packard Enterprise selling technology-services division

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is slimming down its business further by selling off its technology-services division to competitor Computer Sciences Corp. The deal is worth about $8.5 billion to shareholders in HP Enterprise, one of two companies formed last year by the breakup of struggling tech giant Hewlett-Packard Inc. HP Enterprise will now concentrate on selling data center hardware and software to big organizations. It’s selling a consulting and outsourcing business that includes many operations the old HP acquired when it bought Electronic Data Systems for nearly $14 billion in 2008.



Twitter tweaks its Tweets

Twitter is making some big changes, at least in the context of 140 characters or less. The social media service said Tuesday that in coming months, photos, videos, and other media won’t count toward Twitter’s 140-character limit. That means more wordy tweets are on the way. The change, announced Tuesday, is yet another attempt by the San Francisco company to make its messaging service easier to use, and to attract new users. Twitter did not, as many had speculated in recent months, abolish its character limit. A person’s Twitter handle, which starts with the ‘‘@’’ symbol, also will not count against character limits. And people will be able to retweet and quote their own tweets. In another change, any new tweet beginning with an @name will be seen by all followers. Previously, a tweet that started with a person’s handle did not become part of their feed.




Old Mutual talking to suitors

The London-based financial services firm Old Mutual said Tuesday that it was approached by several potential buyers interested in its controlling stake in OM Asset Management. The company, which is listed in London and Johannesburg, said in March that it would split into four main businesses. Old Mutual’s operations include insurance, asset management, and banking. Old Mutual decided to pursue a breakup after a strategic review announced in November when former Standard Bank executive Bruce Hemphill took over as chief executive. The announcement followed a report by The Financial Times on Tuesday that Old Mutual was nearing a deal to sell its stake in OM Asset Management to Affiliated Managers Group.



Head of DeVry departs amid federal probe

DeVry Education Group, the parent company of the for-profit university, on Tuesday announced the departure of its chief executive, Daniel Hamburger, whose tenure has been marred by a federal lawsuit and heightened regulatory scrutiny. The board of directors is replacing Hamburger, who was paid $5.3 million last year, with Lisa Wardell, a director on the DeVry board who was most recently the chief operating officer at RLJ Companies, a Maryland-based asset management firm. DeVry is fighting a lawsuit filed in January by the Federal Trade Commission, which is accusing the for-profit college chain of misleading consumers about the employment and earnings of its graduates in numerous radio, television, online, and print advertisements. FTC authorities say DeVry claimed that 90 percent of its graduates seeking employment land jobs within six months of graduation.