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    Nixon Peabody leasing four floors at 53 State Street


    Nixon Peabody leasing four floors at
    53 State St.

    Law firm Nixon Peabody signed a lease this week for 105,000 square feet on floors 29 through 32 in the 53 State St. tower. CEO Andrew Glincher says he expects to move his roughly 300-person Boston team by the end of next January, when the firm’s current lease at 100 Summer St. expires. The new lease will last for 16 years and 8 months. Nixon Peabody will occupy space previously used by Goodwin and Boston Consulting Group, Glincher said. Glincher is shrinking Nixon Peabody’s Boston space considerably, down from 167,000 square feet today. And he is planning to give the new office a modern and open feel, with more glass and less wood, like similar makeovers the firm has undertaken in Los Angeles, Washington, and New York. The new office will be designed by Gensler, the architectural firm that designed The Boston Globe’s new offices in the same State Street tower. “The way people travel and use offices has just changed so much, between working remotely and working at clients,” Glincher says. “You just don’t use space the same way.” Lincoln Property Co. manages the 40-story tower, also known as Exchange Place, and the building is owned by an affiliate of USB. — JON CHESTO


    Head of Canada’s national railway promises better service

    Canadian National Railway Co.’s new leader vowed to clear backlogs that have angered customers and to speed up service immediately by deploying additional resources. “We apologize for not meeting the expectations of our grain customers, nor our own high standards,” interim chief executive Jean-Jacques Ruest said Wednesday in a statement. “We can and we will do much better, and that starts today — no excuses.” Ruest took over from Luc Jobin on Monday after the railroad struggled to cope with a surge in freight volumes, which slowed operations. Canadian National recently earned a public rebuke from key customer Halliburton Co., which said rail service delays would hurt earnings at the oilfield-services company. Shipping performance at carriers such as Canadian National has “steadily deteriorated” since winter began and farmers in the country are “seriously concerned” about the state of rail service, according to a March 1 statement by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, which represents farm groups across the country. The statement cited data from the week of Feb. 11, when Canadian National supplied only 17 percent of rail cars ordered by grain companies. Canadian National said Wednesday it’s offering incentives for “key operating employees” to delay retirement and postpone vacations, and for recently retired staff to return to work. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


    Weight Watchers investment yields big gain for Oprah

    Oprah Winfrey, who spurred a comeback at Weight Watchers International Inc. when she bought a stake in the company in 2015, is cashing in on the turnaround. Winfrey made $110 million this month by selling 2 million shares of the company, most of which came from exercising options, according to a regulatory filing. She also donated 361,000 shares to her charitable foundation, which sold them for $22.6 million. The billionaire media mogul unloaded the shares to diversify her investment portfolio and make the donation, according to a statement from the company Tuesday. Winfrey won’t sell additional shares this year, Weight Watchers said. “I am deeply committed to Weight Watchers and continue to see a bright future for the company,” Winfrey said in the statement. Weight Watchers was struggling when Winfrey bought a stake in the New York-based business and agreed to pitch the brand in 2015. Since then, the company has been adding subscribers and updating its program with technology improvements that have resonated with customers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


    Small businesses added more workers in February


    Small-business hiring is looking a little stronger. That report is from payroll provider ADP, which said its small-business customers added 68,000 jobs in February, up from January’s 63,000. ADP also said it revised higher its previously reported job figures for both January and December. Small-business hiring has fluctuated for over a year and hasn’t always kept pace with strong gains at larger businesses. ADP’s report on hiring at companies of all sizes showed a healthy gain of 235,000 jobs last month, with significant increases in construction, hotels and restaurants, and education and health care. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Oregon sues Wynn following sexual misconduct allegations

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    The State of Oregon has sued gambling mogul Steve Wynn and the board of directors of Wynn Resorts, alleging a failure to act in the best interests of shareholders and stop a pervasive pattern of sexual misconduct at the Las Vegas company. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Treasurer Tobias Read say the state’s pension system held 8,506 shares of company stock worth a total of $1.3 million. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Nevada, alleges massive breaches of fiduciary duty that caused damage to the company and impaired long-term shareholder value. It follows similar lawsuits by New York and other shareholders. Wynn has been accused of sexual misconduct and has resigned as chairman and CEO. He denies the allegations. Wynn Resorts didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Amazon offers Prime discount for Medicaid recipients is offering a discount on its Prime membership to the millions of Medicaid recipients in the United States, according to media reports, taking another step to wooing lower-income shoppers and keeping pressure on Walmart Inc. Under the offer, customers on Medicaid, the public health insurance program for low-income Americans, can get Amazon Prime for $5.99 a month, or less than half the new regular monthly fee of $12.99, according to reports in Recode and The New York Times. The move expands on an effort started last June, when Amazon introduced a discounted price for shoppers who receive government assistance in the form of an electronic benefits transfer card. Amazon also last year began a program to deliver groceries to food stamp recipients. The offer for Medicaid beneficiaries is another effort by Amazon to target consumers with tighter budgets. The Amazon Prime membership gives shoppers perks such as free two-day shipping on millions of products, free photo storage, and online streaming of thousands of movies and music. While Amazon doesn’t say how many members Prime has, those customers usually spend more and buy more frequently than non-members. A regular Prime membership costs $99 a year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


    GM’s CEO says
    plug-in tax credits should be expanded

    General Motors Co. chief executive Mary Barra (right) called on the Trump administration to extend tax credits to help sell plug-in vehicles. Speaking at a gathering in Houston of some of world’s biggest names in energy, Barra urged the US government to expand a tax credit system for buyers of EVs that begins to phase out for some carmakers this year. The up to $7,500 incentive intended to fuel zero-emission car sales narrowly made it off the chopping block during the recent tax overhaul. “The current federal tax credit helps make electric vehicles more desirable and affordable, and we appreciate that it was retained in the tax reform law,” Barra said, according to prepared remarks. “However, we feel tax credits should be expanded so our customers continue to receive the benefit going forward.” A growing body of research is painting a bearish picture for fossil fuels beyond the next 20 years as more environmentally friendly vehicles, like GM’s Chevrolet Bolt, hit roads across the globe. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


    Indian architect wins prestigious Pritzker prize

    Architect and educator Balkrishna Doshi, best known for his innovative work designing low-cost housing, has been awarded the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the first Indian to win architecture’s highest honor in its 40-year history. The award was announced Wednesday by Tom Pritzker of the Chicago-based Hyatt Foundation. Doshi has been an architect, urban planner, and educator for 70 years. The foundation called the 90-year-old’s work ‘‘poetic and functional’’ and noted his ability to create works that both respect Eastern culture and enhance quality of life in India. Among Doshi’s achievements: the Aranya low-cost housing project in Indore, which accommodates over 80,000 people, many of them poor, through a system of houses, courtyards, and internal pathways. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Federal Reserve report finds ‘moderate’ inflation


    A tight US labor market was helping lift wages across most of the country through late February and contributing to “moderate inflation” in most areas, a Federal Reserve survey showed. The central bank’s Beige Book economic report, based on anecdotal information collected by the 12 regional Fed banks through Feb. 26, showed that the nation's “modest to moderate” expansion was spreading the benefits of higher pay more widely. The survey also contained evidence that a pickup in inflation was more broadly based. “Across the country, contacts observed persistent labor market tightness and brisk demand for qualified workers, as well as increased activity at staffing placement services,” according to the report, released Wednesday in Washington. “Most districts saw employers raise wages and expand benefit packages in response to tight labor market conditions.” Prices increased in all districts, the survey stated, “and most reports noted moderate inflation.” The previous Beige Book report, released Jan. 17, noted that “most districts reported modest to moderate price growth.” The report may add to expectations among investors that the central bank could end up raising interest rates in 2018 by more than the three quarter percentage-point moves that officials projected in December. The rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet March 20 and 21, and investors widely expect the sixth increase since December 2015. — BLOOMBERG NEWS