Eight things you may have missed Wednesday from the world of business


Square raises $243m, starts trading on stock exchange today

Payment processor Square Inc. raised $243 million in its initial public offering, pricing the shares below the marketed range. Square and an existing shareholder sold 27 million shares for $9 each, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News, after offering them for $11 to $13 apiece. That falls short of the $15.46 a share Square sold stock for in its last private funding round. The shares will start trading Thursday. The IPO price puts the company's market valuation at about $2.9 billion, excluding options. The company fetched a $6 billion valuation in its latest financing. Square got its start by creating small devices that plug into smartphones and tablets to allow merchants to process payments made by cards (above), from which the company usually takes a 2.75 percent cut per swipe. Square's net loss widened to $131.5 million in the nine months through September, from $117 million in the year-earlier period. Net revenue jumped 49 percent to $892.8 million. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


SEC wants more transparency from private stock markets

NEW YORK — Wall Street's private stock markets would have to reveal whether they favor any particular users including high-frequency traders under a proposal approved Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of the new disclosure requirements sought by the SEC mirror those currently reserved for public markets such as The New York Stock Exchange. The regulatory effort follows a series of enforcement actions in which Investment Technology Group Inc. and UBS Group AG paid tens of millions of dollars to settle allegations they misled investors about how their dark pools worked. The proposal would require dark pool operators to make a new public filing that spells out their conflicts of interest, including whether an affiliate trades in the dark pool. If the dark pool creates advantages for any particular users, it would have to reveal that in the filing. Dark pool operators also would have to publish any market-quality statistics they use to market the venue. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Pfizer close to acquiring Allergan for $380 per share

Pfizer Inc. is in advanced talks to buy Botox maker Allergan Plc for as much as $380 per share, according to people familiar with the matter. The companies are aiming to announce a deal as soon as Monday, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. However, a letter by the Treasury Department on tax inversion deals, released Wednesday, could delay the final agreement and change the terms of any transaction, another person said. Representatives for Allergan and Pfizer declined to comment. A deal at $380 per share would value the company at almost $150 billion and be the biggest health care deal ever, as well as the largest acquisition this year. The deal would strengthen Pfizer's brand-name drug business and could pave the way for an eventual split in two. It will also allow the US drugmaker to transfer its headquarters to Ireland to take advantage of lower business tax rates in the country — a transaction known as an inversion. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Holiday shopping

Retail group predicts strong sales in the state

The state retail association is feeling optimistic about the upcoming holiday season, predicting sales will grow 6.5 percent in November and December. The projection is nearly double the 3.4 percent increase from the same period in 2014. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts said lower unemployment and gas prices, rising consumer confidence, and an improving housing market, among over factors, will boost sales. The projection is based on a survey of about 350 of the association's members. Jon Hurst, president of the association, said most of the respondents were small and local businesses. "It really is a bit surprising, but also satisfying when you look at what these small businesses are going through today," Hurst said, referring to competition from national retailers. "The fact that they're projecting a pretty strong increase is very encouraging." Earlier this season the National Retail Federation predicted retail sales in the United States would grow 3.7 percent over the holidays. — TARYN LUNA



Hotel fined after medical waste allegations

Federal workplace safety officials have fined the Wyndham Boston Beacon Hill $12,000 following an investigation into housekeepers' allegations that they were cleaning up medical waste from patients staying at nearby Massachusetts General Hospital. The citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which the Wyndham can contest, stated that the hotel failed to adequately protect workers from "biological hazards such as body fluids found on linens and towels" and "physical hazards such as lacerations and puncture wounds from contact with used needles and other sharps devices." Unite Here Local 26, the hospitality workers union trying to organize Wyndham housekeepers, issued a report in May contending that workers were routinely forced to clean up blood, vomit, and other bodily fluids and dispose of used syringes. In a statement, the Wyndham Hotel Group said it was reviewing the citations. "Providing a healthy and safe environment for our employees and guests is of the utmost importance to us," it said. "Please know we take these matters very seriously and will work with OSHA to reach a resolution." — KATIE JOHNSTON



Staples reports lower profit as it awaits word on merger

NEW YORK — Staples Inc.'s profit fell 8.8 percent during the third quarter on a continued decline in sales as the office supplies retailer awaits a key regulatory decision on its planned buyout of rival Office Depot Inc. The Framingham, Mass.-based company's profit fell to $198 million, or 31 cents per share, in the three months ended Oct. 31. Earnings, adjusted for nonrecurring costs, came to 35 cents per share. The results matched Wall Street expectations. Staples Inc. is trying to buy one-time rival Office Depot for $6.3 billion. The deal, announced in February, is part of a rapid consolidation in the office supply sector that has been hammered by technological changes in the workplace and by competition from Amazon.com and other online retailers. The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the deal and will make a decision by Dec. 8. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Food industry

Dunkin’ Donuts adding delivery, on-the-go ordering

NEW YORK — Dunkin' Donuts is testing delivery and on-the-go ordering. The doughnut and coffee chain said Wednesday delivery will be offered in Dallas this week and spread to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington in the coming weeks. Delivery orders need to be made on the app or website of DoorDash, the delivery company with which Dunkin' Donuts is partnering. Tests of on-the-go ordering are taking place at stores in Portland, Maine. Customers place orders on the Dunkin' Donuts app in advance and pick them up at a store. With the tests, Dunkin' Donuts is catching up with rivals. Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks Corp. already offers on-the-go ordering at 7,400 company-owned stores in the United States and is testing deliveries in certain cities. Dunkin' Donuts is owned by Dunkin' Brands Group Inc., based in Canton, Mass. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Lyft trying to raise $500m as it burns through cash

SAN FRANCISCO — Ride-hailing pioneer Lyft is heading back to the fund-raising till, but its numbers may not look that rosy to investors. The company lost $127 million in the first half of 2015 on $46.7 million in revenue, according to a private fund-raising documents. Lyft, the second-biggest ride-hailing service in the United States, is raising roughly $500 million as the company burns through tens of millions of dollars a month, according to a fund-raising presentation compiled by Credit Suisse. It highlights tepid financial performance at Lyft and reveals that the company has repeatedly underperformed its own expectations. In the first half of the year, Lyft generated less revenue, lost more money, and added fewer customers than projected in February. — BLOOMBERG NEWS