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Cambridge Trust to acquire Wellesley Bank


Cambridge Trust to acquire Wellesley Bank

Another day, another bank merger — and for Bostonians, this one hits a little closer to home. The parent company of Cambridge Trust announced on Thursday that it would acquire Wellesley Bank in an all-stock deal valued at $122 million. Wellesley CEO Thomas Fontaine will join Cambridge Bancorp as chief banking officer. The acquisition adds six branches in Greater Boston to Cambridge Trust’s 16-location network in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Cambridge Trust is roughly three times the size of Wellesley Bank: $2.8 billion in assets versus $986 million. The deal is slated to be completed in mid-2020, as long as the banks receive the necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals. The announcement from the two publicly traded banks came one day after two smaller mutual banks, Bridgewater Savings and Mansfield Bank, unveiled their plans to merge. — JON CHESTO



Uber discloses 3,000 sexual assaults in US rides last year

In a long-awaited safety report, Uber acknowledged 3,045 sexual assaults occurred during US Uber rides in 2018. That figure includes 229 rapes. The number of incidents represented a fraction — just 0.0002 percent — of Uber’s 1.3 billion rides in the United States last year, the company said. Uber and its competitor Lyft have faced a backlash for not doing enough to protect the safety of riders and drivers. This is the first time that Uber has released the safety report. The company said that hiding the information wasn’t making anyone safer. The company also said Uber rides were involved in 58 traffic fatalities. In 2017, the company said 2,936 sexual assaults were reported. Uber bases its numbers on reports from riders and drivers — meaning the actual numbers could be much higher. Sexual assaults commonly go unreported. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Biggest IPO ever expected for Saudi Aramco

Saudi Arabia’s giant state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, on Thursday set the price of its initial public offering at a level that will raise $25.6 billion, a sum that is expected to make it the world’s biggest IPO. Saudi Aramco said it set the initial price at 32 riyals, or about $8.53 a share, the high end of the range it forecast last month. It plans to sell 3 billion shares, representing 1.5 percent of the company. At that price, the company would be worth $1.7 trillion. The amount raised by the sale exceeds the $25 billion raised by Alibaba, the Chinese online retail company, in its initial offering five years ago on the New York Stock Exchange. And the total could go higher. The company said underwriters could decide to sell an additional quantity of shares that would raise the proceeds to $29.4 billion. Still, the $1.7 trillion figure falls short of the Saudi royal family’s hopes of an offering that would value the company at close to $2 trillion. — NEW YORK TIMES



Author gives $500 bonuses to 500 booksellers

Bookstore employees from Mystic, Conn., to Houston and San Francisco all have a happy holiday story to share: a $500 bonus from bestselling author James Patterson. Patterson announced Thursday that 500 gifts of $500 each — 100 of those gifts going to children’s booksellers — would be handed out for his annual Holiday Bookseller Bonus Program. The recipients were chosen from a pool of more than 2,500 nominations, with applications based on the question: ‘‘Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?” The program is administered by Patterson and the American Booksellers Association, which represents the country’s independent bookstores. Patterson has donated millions of dollars in recent years to bookstores, school libraries, and literacy programs. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Airbnb cracks down on partiers

Airbnb is taking more steps to crack down on parties and nuisance guests following a Halloween shooting at an Airbnb rental in a San Francisco suburb. The company said Thursday that it’s banning “open invite” parties at all of its accommodations. Those are parties open to anyone and advertised on social media, for example. Airbnb says boutique hotels and professional event venues will be exempt from the new rule. The San Francisco company is also banning large parties at apartment buildings and condos. Airbnb is also issuing new guest behavior rules. CEO Brian Chesky announced last month that changes would be coming after five people were killed at a Halloween party shooting in Orinda, Calif. The owner of the Airbnb rental did not authorize the party, which had more than 100 guests. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Rates remain steady

Long-term mortgage rates held steady this week amid mixed signs in the housing market. Rates remain at historically low levels as a lure to prospective home buyers. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was unchanged from the previous week at 3.68 percent. By contrast, the benchmark rate stood at 4.75 percent a year ago. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage ticked down to 3.14 percent this week from 3.15 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


United Airlines gets a new CEO

Three years after being dumped by a rival, Scott Kirby will become the next CEO of United Airlines, where he has played a key role in leading a turnaround of the once-moribund carrier. United announced Thursday that CEO Oscar Munoz will step down in May and be succeeded by Kirby, currently the airline’s president. Munoz has led the airline since 2015 during a tumultuous time that included the brutal dragging of a passenger off an overcrowded plane and an aggressive growth plan designed to recapture United’s glory days. Munoz recruited Kirby days after he was ousted as the number two official at American Airlines, where he was widely considered a future CEO. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



More retailers stop selling infant inclined sleepers

Walmart and Buy Buy Baby plan to stop selling infant inclined sleepers, popular products that federal safety regulators recently warned the public to stop using after they were linked to more than 70 accidental deaths, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday. The two retailers join Amazon and EBay, which announced Wednesday that they, too, plan to stop selling the product. It’s been a rapid downfall for a product that in less than a year has gone from a sleeping device loved by many parents to a product reviled after a string of safety recalls and research suggesting it was inherently dangerous. — WASHINGTON POST


Ohio to get electric vehicle battery cell factory

General Motors and South Korea’s LG Chem have formed a joint venture to build an electric vehicle battery cell factory near Lordstown, Ohio, east of Cleveland. The companies also will work together on battery technology to bring down the cost for future GM electric vehicles. The new plant will create more than 1,100 jobs in the area around Youngstown, Ohio, and the joint venture plans to invest $2.3 billion in the plant and for battery development. GM says it will be among the largest battery factories in the world. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



BlackRock fires an executive over consensual affair

BlackRock Inc. fired a top official over a consensual affair, the firm’s second high-profile dismissal this year for misconduct, as chief executive Larry Fink cracks down on the behavior of his senior lieutenants. Mark Wiseman, global head of active equities and viewed as a potential successor to Fink, was terminated for violating the policy on work relationships, according to a memo that Fink and president Rob Kapito sent to staff on Thursday. Global head of human resources Jeff Smith was dismissed in a similar way in July for breaking company rules. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Claims for jobless benefits fall to lowest level since April

Filings for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell to the lowest level since April, signaling resilience in the labor market ahead of Friday’s jobs report. Jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 203,000 in the week ended Nov. 30, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday that were below all estimates in Bloomberg’s survey of economists. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, decreased to 217,750. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rent the Runway teams up with W Hotels to rent clothes

Rent the Runway Inc. is bringing its high-end subscription clothing to hotel closets. The rental business is entering W Hotels, allowing customers to borrow four outfits during their stay for $69. To start, the service will be available in four of its locations: Hollywood, Aspen, Miami, and Washington D.C. Participating guests will be greeted with clothing in their hotel rooms and they can leave it at the front desk upon checkout. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Glencore being investigated for bribery in UK

Glencore is being investigated for bribery by UK authorities, deepening the legal woes that threaten the world’s biggest commodities trader. Glencore will cooperate with the probe conducted by the Serious Fraud Office, according to a statement. It didn’t provide any further details and a spokesman declined to comment. The shares plunged as much as 7.7 percent in London, the biggest intraday drop since June. While Glencore is already under investigation in the United States for possible corruption and money-laundering, the announcement from the UK adds to the challenges that have scared investors and shaken the company. — BLOOMBERG NEWS