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GOVERNMENT

Top Baker aide leaving for renewable-energy developer

Another top aide in the Baker administration is heading to the private sector. Judith Judson, commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources, will leave her job on Dec. 13 to join Framingham-based renewable-energy developer Ameresco as vice president of distributed energy systems. During her four-plus year tenure as energy resources commissioner, Judson played an instrumental role in shepherding two rounds of bidding for offshore wind power contracts and ushering in a new system of incentives for the solar industry. Energy and Environmental Affairs secretary Katie Theoharides, Judson’s boss, appointed energy undersecretary Patrick Woodcock to be interim commissioner until a more permanent replacement for Judson can be announced. — JON CHESTO

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RECREATION

Sugarbush ski area bought by national conglomerate

A Denver-based skiing conglomerate said Wednesday it had entered into a deal to purchase Sugarbush Resort, one of the last independently operated skiing resorts in New England. Alterra Mountain Company, which also owns Vermont’s Stratton Mountain among over a dozen properties across the United States, announced the deal just a few weeks after another skiing giant, Vail Resorts, completed its purchase Peak Resorts, which owned Wildcat and Attitash Mountains in New Hampshire and Mount Snow in Vermont, among others. Nationally and locally, ski resorts have increasingly been consolidated under the umbrella of just a few companies. Meanwhile, the price of lift tickets has been steadily rising, particularly at the bigger resorts. The purchase would increase Alterra Mountain’s total year-round mountain destinations to 15 in six states and three Canadian provinces. Sugarbush has been majority-owned by its current chief executive, former Merrill Lynch International chairman Win Smith, since 2001, when he teamed up with three others to form Summit Ventures to purchase the property. The 4,000-acre property is located in the Mad River Valley of Vermont. — MAX JUNGREIS

ATHLETIC GEAR

Nike ends partnership with Amazon

Nike is ending a sales partnership with Amazon less than a month after the athletic gear company named an e-commerce veteran as its new chief executive. The company says it wants to create a more direct customer experience, but the announcement Wednesday is a setback for Amazon. Amazon is under pressure from big-name brands to cut back on fake goods from third-party sellers. Amazon’s third-party marketplace allows sellers to list their products directly on the site. It’s an important part of Amazon’s business since it allows Amazon to offer millions more products on its site. More than half of all products sold on Amazon last year came from third-party sellers. When Nike announced the pilot program with Amazon.com Inc. in 2017, it hoped that it would have more control over the brand if it were more closely involved. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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FAST FOOD

McDonald’s forgot about cash customers in self-ordering kiosks

McDonald’s Corp. has pitched self-ordering kiosks as a key part of its plans to boost sales by improving technology and renovating restaurants. But it turns out the kiosks aren’t much use for a significant slice of McDonald’s customers: cash payers. The Big Mac seller is leaning hard into digital ordering and technology improvements to attract on-the-go customers, but a recent test shows the kiosks may need to be replaced or retrofitted to accommodate cash transactions. About 6.5 percent — or 8.4 million — of US households don’t have a bank account or a debit or credit card, preventing them from paying at McDonald’s kiosks that are in about 9,000 domestic locations. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

INTERNET

government asked to block Google’s acquisition of Fitbit

Nine privacy, social justice, and consumer groups are calling for the US government to block Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness-gadget maker Fitbit, citing antitrust and privacy concerns. They say in a Wednesday letter to the Federal Trade Commission that the deal would consolidate Google’s dominance over internet services like search, advertising, and smartphone operating systems. They also worry it’ll add to Google’s store of consumer data. Health information is of particular concern. Google has hired health care executives, hinting at a health-data business to come. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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E-COMMERCE

Alibaba taking investor orders for Hong Kong share sale

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. started taking investor orders for its Hong Kong share sale, which could raise more than $11 billion in the city’s largest equity offering since 2010. The New York-listed tech giant is offering 500 million new shares, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg on Wednesday. The base offering could raise about $11.7 billion based on Alibaba’s Tuesday close in New York, though it’s possible the stock will be priced at a discount. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

STREAMING

Disney Plus beats subscriber sign-up expectations

Disney Plus says it hit more than 10 million sign-ups on its first day of launch, far exceeding expectations. Disney’s mix of Marvel and Star Wars movies and shows, classic animated films, and new series appears to be a hit out of the gate after its launch on Tuesday. Disney has invested billions in its streaming service, which costs $7 a month or $70 a year after a 7-day free trial. Customers of some Verizon wireless and home-Internet plans were offered a year free. Disney didn’t break down where the subscriptions came from or if they were free or paid monthly or yearly. Some analysts thought it would take Disney a year to reach 10 million subscribers. Netflix has garnered 158 million subscribers since launching its streaming platform in 2007. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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INTERNATIONAL

London court blocks mail strike during holiday season

A London court blocked a planned strike by Royal Mail workers during the peak holiday season, easing concerns about possible disruptions to Christmas deliveries and sending the company’s shares up as much as 4.7 percent. The world’s oldest postal service won a court injunction Wednesday against the Communication Workers Union’s proposal for a national strike. A ballot for a national walkout last month received support from 97 percent of members as part of an ongoing dispute over issues such as shorter working weeks, pensions, and job security, before the country’s general election was set. The threatened strike was “designed to cause maximum pain to the public both in relation to ‘Cyber Week’ and the Christmas period but also to disrupt the general election” on Dec. 12, lawyers for Royal Mail told the court Tuesday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AUTOMOTIVE

Tesla to build its first European factory in Germany

Germany on Wednesday hailed Tesla’s decision to build its first European factory in the country, days after the government said it would boost subsidies for buyers of electrics cars. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during an award ceremony in the German capital Tuesday evening that ‘‘we’ve decided to put the Tesla Gigafactory Europe in the Berlin area.’’ The company will also set up an engineering and design center in Berlin, Musk said at the Golden Steering Wheel event. He wrote on Twitter that the new plant ‘‘will build batteries, powertrains & vehicles, starting with Model Y.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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CONSUMERS

Prices rose in October at fastest pace since March

Surging gasoline prices caused US consumer prices to rise last month at the fastest pace since March. The Labor Department said Wednesday that its consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in October after a flat reading in September. Gasoline prices, after drops in August and September, jumped 3.7 percent last month. Overall consumer prices rose 1.8 percent over the past year, just below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS