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TALKING POINTS

El Jefe’s loses bid to stay open past midnight

The El Jefe restaurant in Cambridge is open untiil 4 a.m., or four hours past its Boston brethren.
The El Jefe restaurant in Cambridge is open untiil 4 a.m., or four hours past its Boston brethren. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff/Globe staff

RESTAURANTS

Midnight still the bewitching hour for El Jefe’s Taqueria

The City of Boston won’t let El Jefe’s Taqueria serve its tacos and burritos past midnight at its new location across from Boston Common — at least for now. El Jefe’s wanted to stay open until 2 a.m., but on Thursday the licensing board approved a midnight closing, saying the restaurant could apply to extend the hours in eight months. “I am disappointed that it is not three months or six months, but we will accept it and move forward, being supportive of the neighborhood and community,” El Jefe’s owner John Schall said. The Midtown Park Plaza Neighborhood Association had submitted a letter to the board opposing the proposed closing hours. The group’s concerns stemmed from the fact that El Jefe’s was located in a building that houses about 1,000 Emerson College freshmen. The group also said El Jefe’s proximity to several nightclubs would “put an additional strain on the public safety resources in the area.” The mayor’s office and District 2 Councilor Ed Flynn’s office also opposed the 2 a.m. closing time, as did Emerson College, the landlord for the restaurant. Schall noted that there are almost a dozen restaurants within a quarter-mile of El Jefe’s that are open until 2 a.m. — ANISSA GARDIZY

UTILITIES

Columbia Gas parent company can keep the proceeds from sale of Mass. division

Columbia Gas parent company NiSource Inc. can keep all of the $1.1 billion it would receive from Eversource in payment for NiSource’s gas utility operations in Massachusetts. Indiana-based NiSource is being forced to sell its pipeline operations in this state as part of a deal with federal prosecutors to resolve a criminal investigation into the September 2018 explosions and fires along Columbia Gas lines in the Merrimack Valley. NiSource agreed with prosecutors to forfeit any profits from the sale. But NiSource is accounting for the sale price as a loss, compared to the book value of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, and therefore all the proceeds would go to NiSource, according to a NiSource spokesman. An Eversource spokeswoman said the company would make employment offers to all 700 Columbia Gas employees in the state. Eversource, based in Boston and Hartford, already employs 8,300 people, including 3,500 in Massachusetts. The transaction, announced Wednesday, still needs several regulatory approvals. — JON CHESTO

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ATHLETIC APPAREL

For New Balance, NBA, nothing but net

New Balance is lining up for another shot at the basketball market by signing a marketing agreement with the National Basketball Association. The Boston-based athletic apparel and shoe company will now be able to include NBA events and logos in advertising and promotions and will be able to create advertising content with New Balance-sponsored athletes in their respective NBA uniforms. NBA has similar arrangements with Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, and Puma. The agreement coincides with New Balance’s launch of a campaign featuring Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, dubbed “We Got Now.” — JON CHESTO

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BIOTECH

Biogen pays firm to collaborate on neurological disorders

Cambridge-based Biogen is paying a California biotech $350 million up front to collaborate on developing medicines for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders. Biogen said late Thursday that it signed the deal with Sangamo Therapeutics of Brisbane, Calif., to take advantage of the latter’s gene regulation therapies. Biogen is exploring a variety of gene therapies to treat a range of neurological disorders. It is seeking approval this year of aducanumab, a late-stage experimental Alzheimer’s drug. — JONATHAN SALTZMAN

AUTOMOTIVE

Threat of fires prompts Kia to recall cars, minivans

Kia is recalling more than 193,000 cars and minivans in yet another move to fix nagging problems that could cause engine fires. The largest of two US recalls released by the government Thursday covers nearly 142,000 Optima midsize cars from 2013 and 2014. They have 2.4-liter direct fuel injection or 2-liter direct injection turbocharged engines. Kia said a fuel hose can deteriorate and crack due to engine heat. The hoses can leak and cause fires. A fix is still being developed. The recall is expected to start April 16. The second recall covers about 51,000 2011 and 2012 Sedona minivans. The fuel injector rail can crack from exposure to heat, causing a gas leak. Dealers will replace the injector part starting April 16. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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MORTGAGES

Rates fall amid coronavirus fears

Long-term mortgage rates declined this week as growing concern over the economic impact of China’s viral outbreak spurred a steep downturn in global stock markets. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.45 percent from 3.49 percent last week. The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage slipped to 2.95 percent from 2.99 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

INTERNATIONAL

Bayer says it may have to sell assets or borrow money to cover Roundup lawsuits

Bayer acknowledged for the first time that lawsuits related to the controversial weed killer Roundup could force it to sell assets, issue new equity, or borrow money at unfavorable terms. In its annual report published Thursday, Bayer said it “may incur considerable financial disadvantages” from pending suits as well as future cases from US plaintiffs who say the herbicide causes cancer. Bayer, which insists that Roundup is safe, said it’s too early to determine whether any of the worst-case scenarios described in the report will materialize. The company has “quite a solid balance sheet” to cover the growing costs of its legal troubles, chief executive Werner Baumann said.

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INTERNATIONAL

Starbucks reopening cafes closed in China

Starbucks Corp. is reopening cafes across China after the coronavirus outbreak forced widespread closures last month. Starbucks now has opened 85 percent of its 4,292 China locations, chief executive Kevin Johnson said in a letter posted online Thursday. The world’s biggest coffee chain, based in Seattle, has seen its supply chain disrupted and sales fall after the disease’s rapid spread forced businesses, malls, and shopping locations to shutter across China. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

happy holidays? Best Buy sure thinks so

Best Buy Co. reported strong fourth-quarter results as shoppers bought appliances, mobile phones, and tablets during the holiday season. The robust results, announced Thursday, beat Wall Street expectations, and came as many of its big box peers including Target and Walmart had wrestled with sales shortfalls. Best Buy, which is facing increasing competition from Amazon, is holding its own after aggressively expanding its online operations, speeding up deliveries, and making visits to its stores for customers a better experience. The company introduced curbside pickup service that allows shoppers to pick up items without getting out of their car at 100 stores. It said the service already accounts for 15 percent of store pickup units at those locations. It plans to expand that service. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Only one of the largest IPOs last year had an all-male board

Among the 25 largest public offerings last year, only one hit the market with an all-male board, the cannabis product company Greenlane Holdings Inc. That’s a huge change from the previous five years, when about half the boards had no female directors. At six of the biggest companies that went public last year, women held 30 percent or more of the board seats, according to a six-year analysis of the largest initial public offerings, released Thursday by the advocacy group 2020 Women on Boards. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. put companies on notice this year that it won’t underwrite any IPOs in the United States or Europe that plan to hit the market with boards composed of only white, straight men. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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