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    The week in business


    Dunkin’ gets
    a new CEO

    Someone new will be in charge of ensuring more of America runs on Dunkin’. CEO Nigel Travis is retiring after leading Dunkin’ Brands for nine years. Some “retirement.” The 68-year-old will stick around as executive chairman, with a particular focus on international growth. Travis concedes it’s time to slow down and smell the coffee: He’ll spend more time with his family — and the Leyton Orient soccer team he now leads in his native England. Enter Dave Hoffmann, a former top McDonald’s executive. Hoffmann, (right) 50, arrived in 2016 to oversee Dunkin’ Donuts in the United States and Canada. Over time, it became increasingly clear he would be Travis’s successor as CEO. On Wednesday, the Canton-based company made it official. Hoffmann has already mixed it up. He simplified the menu, launched extra-value deals, introduced a new store format. He’s even testing a name change for the nearly 70-year-old brand. The franchisees say they’re on board with the promotion: Their advocacy group, DDIFO, issued a statement praising Hoffmann. Hoffmann wants to add 1,000 net new Dunkin’ locations, primarily outside the core Northeast footprint, to the chain’s roughly 9,200 US outlets by the end of 2020. He also pledges to get revenue at stores open at least a year rising 3 percent annually by that point. — JON CHESTO


    Necco sale hits another snag

    The sale of Necco has hit another sour patch. Round Hill Investments LLC, which bought New England Confectionery Co. in dramatic fashion in May after the initial winner of a bankruptcy auction reneged on its bid, is now being sued for breach of contract and “unfair and deceptive business practices,” by the court-appointed trustee handling the bankruptcy case. In a complaint filed in US Bankruptcy Court in Boston last week, trustee Harry B. Murphy accused Round Hill of trying to back out of a final payment of $1 million by claiming it was unaware of a warning issued to Necco by the Food and Drug Administration in May regarding “serious” code violations, including evidence of “widespread rodent activity” and excrement pellets “too numerous to count,” stemming from an inspection of Necco’s Revere plant late last year. Murphy’s complaint blasted Round Hill, an entity owned by billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos, and his sons Evan and Daren, for its “cynical conduct” and for contriving “a bad-faith, meritless allegation.” The complaint also said that prior to Necco’s May 23 bankruptcy auction, Murphy had informed Round Hill and the other bidders of the FDA’s warning letter and of the federal agency’s acknowledgment that Necco had taken corrective action, which the FDA still needed to review. The complaint marks the latest twist in what has been a contentious few months for the struggling company, which traces its roots to 1847 and manufactures candies such as Necco Wafers, Sweethearts, and Sky Bar. — KATHELEEN CONTI


    Japanese company to buy Visterra for $430 million

    The Japanese drug maker Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. has signed a deal to buy Waltham-based Visterra Inc. for $430 million, the latest move by a foreign pharmaceutical company to establish a presence in the white-hot Massachusetts biotech cluster. The boards of both companies said Wednesday that they had approved the all-cash transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Otsuka Pharmaceutical is a subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., of Tokyo. The Otsuka group of companies employ 46,000 people worldwide. The drug subsidiary focuses on finding treatments for psychiatric and neurological disorders; blood cancers; and kidney, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases. Visterra is a privately held 11-year-old biotech working on antibody-based therapies for kidney diseases and other hard-to-treat disorders. It has developed a drug-discovery tool, Hierotope, that enables scientists to engineer antibodies to target a particular site on a virus or bacteria. Visterra is focusing, among other things, on diseases like the flu, which every year results in the hospitalization of about 400,000 Americans and leads to about 50,000 deaths, particularly of people with compromised immune systems. — JONATHAN SALTZMAN


    Toast becomes a unicorn


    Toast, a Boston company that makes technology systems to help restaurants manage their sales and operations, is the newest member of the region’s crowd of billion-dollar startups. Toast announced Tuesday that it had taken $115 million in new venture funding led by the financial firm T. Rowe Price. The investment valued the company at $1.4 billion, according to Toast. The company’s platform helps restaurants handle orders and payments, and it combines those services with analytics that help managers track metrics such as sales and inventory. Toast has been growing rapidly. It has about 600 workers in Boston and about 1,000 worldwide. Startups valued at more than $1 billion are often called “unicorns” in the tech industry, and though valuations are growing in a hot era for venture capital activity, it is still a mark of success. Only five venture-backed companies achieved the status in the first quarter of this year, according to a research report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights. Two other startups have been involved in deals that valued them at close to $1 billion in recent months. The online pharmacy PillPack agreed to be acquired by Amazon for a value reportedly close to that number, and the home security system maker SimpliSafe recently sold a controlling stake to a private equity firm at a value of about $1 billion. — ANDY ROSEN


    Massport plans major upgrade to Black Falcon terminal

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    With the cruise ship business booming, Massachusetts port officials are planning on a major upgrade to the Black Falcon terminal, the biggest renovation to the South Boston facility since it was converted from an old Army warehouse more than 30 years ago. The Massachusetts Port Authority has convinced state lawmakers to include $100 million in an economic development bill that could be approved by the House of Representatives as soon as Tuesday. The big money is necessary to rework the terminal to accommodate the huge new cruise ships the industry is building — and the crowds that come with them. More than 100 ships are scheduled to be delivered during the next decade, said Monty Mathisen, managing editor of Cruise Industry News. All three of the big publicly traded cruise ship companies — Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line — are reporting strong profits and are looking to expand, he said. And Boston, he added, is well positioned to capitalize on that increased interest because of Logan Airport’s proximity to the terminal, now also known as Flynn Cruiseport Boston, and the number of potential travelers within driving distance. Cruise ship traffic has already been building at the South Boston terminal. Massport said it had 150 ship visits last year, an increase of more than 30 percent from 2016, and passenger counts increased similarly, to 388,000 in 2017. Massport expects even better times ahead, with 400,000-plus passengers anticipated this season, chief executive Thomas Glynn said. — JON CHESTO