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    Another national law firm sets up shop in Boston


    Another national law firm sets up shop in Boston

    Another one of the nation’s largest law firms is planting its flag in Boston. Hogan Lovells on Thursday unveiled its plan to merge with local firm Collora LLP, a 29-lawyer operation known until several years ago as Dwyer & Collora. (The name changed after cofounder Thomas Dwyer left in early 2011.) Hogan Lovells has more than 45 offices around the world but until now hasn’t had one in Boston. The two firms have worked together for nearly two decades. Collora is particularly known for a focus in life sciences and health care. “The Boston region is a key strategic market in the United States,” Hogan Lovells chief executive Steve Immelt said in a statement. “Although we have worked closely with clients in the area for years, it more recently became clear to us that there was a need for an office that had strong roots in the community.” Immelt’s name might sound familiar: he’s General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt’s brother. Jeff Immelt, meanwhile, is stepping down from the chief executive’s job later this year. — JON CHESTO


    Neurala Inc.
    to move to
    the Seaport

    Boston-based artificial intelligence startup Neurala Inc. raised $14 million in January. Now, the company has decided to spend its hard-earned equity funding in the Seaport. Neurala just moved into an 8,000-square-foot spot at 51 Sleeper St., from a much smaller space in Boston University’s Photonics Center. About 25 employees work at Neurala, chief executive Max Versace said, with a goal of employing 40 by the end of the year. Versace was attracted to the idea of helping to build a robotics cluster in the area. The new MassRobotics co-working space is on Channel Street, autonomous cars are being tested nearby, and Rethink Robotics is a couple of blocks away. General Electric’s temporary headquarters is also around the corner, and the industrial giant expects to eventually host a small army of software developers and engineers after its new headquarters opens down the street. — JON CHESTO


    Dow and DuPont
    get US approval
    to merge

    Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. won US antitrust approval for their $73 billion merger, overcoming one of the last remaining hurdles to a deal that would create a global chemicals giant. The companies said that the assets they agreed to sell to win US approval didn’t go beyond what they had already agreed to with other jurisdictions. DuPont will sell off some of its herbicide and insecticide products and Dow will unload a plastics packaging unit, according to a settlement filed Thursday in federal court in Washington. The so-called merger of equals is among a trio of mega-deals that would reshape the global agrochemicals industry if approved by regulators around the world. Bayer AG is seeking approval to buy Monsanto Co., while China National Chemical Corp.’s agreement to buy Syngenta AG is nearing completion. If cleared, the transactions together would consolidate the industry into four major players, including BASF SE. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


    Rates creep up


    Long-term US mortgage rates edged up this week as the benchmark 30-year rate bounced back from a seven-month low. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.91 this week from 3.89 percent last week. The rate stood at 3.54 percent a year ago and averaged a record low 3.65 percent in 2016. The rate on the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.18 percent from 3.16 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Nestle may sell its US candy business, home to Butterfingers
    and Raisinets

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    Nestle may sell its US candy business, which makes classics like the Butterfinger candy bar, Raisinets, and Nerds. The Swiss company said Thursday that it will wrap up a review of strategic options for the business by the end of this year. Nestle says the review doesn’t affect its Toll House baking products in the United States or Kit Kat overseas. In the United States, Kit Kat is licensed to Hershey and is not part of Nestle’s portfolio. The company said earlier this year that candy sales in 2016 were disappointing, and global pricing pressure has forced it to cut costs. The global food giant says its candy unit represents about 3 percent of its US sales. Nestle also makes Purina pet food, bottled water, Stouffer’s and Gerber baby foods. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Fiat Chrysler recalling 297,000 minivans over air bags

    Fiat Chrysler is recalling 297,000 minivans in the United States and Canada because the driver’s front air bag can inflate unexpectedly. The recall covers Dodge Grand Caravans from 2011 and 2012. The company says eight people have suffered minor injuries from the problem, but no crashes have been reported. Fiat Chrysler says the air bag wiring can chafe against steering wheel trim, causing a short circuit. Drivers could see an air bag warning light, the windshield wipers may turn on unexpectedly or the speed control may not work. Dealers will inspect wiring and replace it if needed, as well as install a protective covering. Owners will be notified by mail starting July 28. The similar Chrysler Town & Country minivan is not affected. FCA says it has different steering wheel trim. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Nike to cut 1,400 jobs, focus on online sales

    Nike wants to be more nimble on its feet. The sneaker maker said Thursday that it plans to sell more shoes directly to customers online as part of a restructuring in which it plans to cut about 1,400 jobs. It will also reduce the number of sneaker and clothing styles it makes by a quarter and focus on hot sellers. Nike said the moves will help it offer more products to customers faster. The company said a main focus will be the 12 key cities in 10 countries that it expects to represent more than 80 percent of its projected growth through 2020. It also said it will make its apps, where shoppers can find and buy sneakers, available in more countries. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Takata reportedly to file for bankruptcy

    Takata, the air-bag maker behind the biggest safety recall in automotive history, plans to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Japanese company is expected to seek protection in its home country first, with its US subsidiary filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly thereafter, said the person, who asked not to identified because the matter isn’t public and the timing could change. A representative for the Tokyo-based company couldn’t immediately be reached outside normal business hours. The Nikkei reported earlier that Takata is expected to file for bankruptcy in Japan as early as this month, with liabilities exceeding $9.02 billion (1 trillion yen). The company’s steering committee has recommended Key Safety Systems Inc., a US air-bag maker owned by China’s Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp., as the preferred bidder for the entire manufacturer. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


    Skittles to lose their rainbow colors in a nod to pride celebrations


    Skittles has temporarily ditched its rainbow theme in favor of an all-white look in the United Kingdom and Germany in order to give LGBT pride celebrations ‘‘center stage.’’ Michelle Green, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based Wrigley Company, which makes Skittles, said that since rainbow colors are identified with both LGBT pride and Skittles, the candy maker chose one color during the celebrations ‘‘in order for Pride’s rainbow to take center stage.’’ June is LGBT Pride month. The Skittles switch began in late March and wraps up in September. The move has received a mixed reaction on social media. Some Twitter users like it, but others are critical of the selection of white for the campaign, saying it plays against the nod to diversity. — ASSOCIATED PRESS