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Chicago-area private equity firm to acquire parent of Papa Gino’s, D’Angelo for $20m


Chicago-area private equity firm to acquire parent of Papa Gino’s, D’Angelo for $20m

A Chicago-area private equity firm has received a bankruptcy court approval to acquire the parent company of the Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches chains for $20 million. Wynnchurch Capital, which had become the Dedham-based pizzeria company’s largest creditor, was the sole bidder. While PGHC Holdings used the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process to close more than 90 restaurants last year, more than 140 company-owned restaurants and nearly 2,500 workers remain. (There are also 33 franchised locations, almost all D’Angelo shops.) The company is expected to appoint a new CEO after it emerges from bankruptcy, likely in early February. Chief financial officer Corey Wendland says Wynnchurch plans to invest in the operations, in part by improving worker training and possibly rolling out new conveyor-style ovens to make pizza more quickly and consistently. — JON CHESTO



Massachusetts among top 10 job-creating states in 2018

Texas, California, and Florida created more than 200,000 jobs in 2018, according to employment data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Massachusetts and New York created more than 100,000 jobs and Arizona and Georgia were just shy at 99,343 and 99,340 respectively. The top 10 states, in aggregate, accounted for approximately two thirds of the nation’s overall employment growth in the past year. Unemployment rates reached a historic low one month last year in close to 40 percent of states, seven of which hit a record low during the last month of the year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Boeing’s flying car completes first test flight

A Boeing flying car designed to whisk passengers over congested city streets and dodge skyscrapers completed its first test flight on Tuesday, offering a peek into the future of urban transportation the aerospace giant and others are seeking to reshape. A prototype of its autonomous passenger air vehicle completed a controlled takeoff, hover, and landing during the test conducted in Manassas, Va., about 30 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., Boeing said in a statement Wednesday. Propelled by electricity, the model is designed for fully autonomous flight, with a range of as much as 50 miles, the maker of military and commercial jets said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Firm that applies blockchain to capital markets draws investors

Nasdaq Inc. and Citigroup Inc. are among firms that are investing $20 million in Inc., a New York-based company that’s applying blockchain technology to capital markets. Their support for Symbiont shows Wall Street’s enthusiasm for the technology behind Bitcoin hasn’t completely cooled with the collapse in cryptocurrencies. And it comes despite a growing pragmatism about the technology’s limitations and potential applications, according to Symbiont chief executive Mark Smith. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Canadians bought $41m of pot in first month of legal sales

Canadians bought $41 million of marijuana from stores in the first full month after sales were legalized, some of the clearest evidence yet of the market’s potential. Statistics Canada’s figure for November released Wednesday follows an earlier estimate that sales were C$43 million in the first two weeks following legalization on Oct. 17. The Ottawa-based agency added cannabis to standard monthly reports on retail sales as part of wider effort to update the nation’s economic accounts. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rich are getting younger

The rich are getting richer, and younger. A survey of US investors with $25 million or more finds their average age dropped by 11 years since 2014, to 47. These fabulously rich Americans, whose ranks have more than doubled since the depths of the Great Recession, are younger than less wealthy millionaires. The average age of those with at least a mere $1 million is 62, a number that hasn’t budged in years. Where is this new money coming from? A new generation of millionaires and billionaires probably owe as much to inheritances as to self-made fortunes. About nine in 10 investors under 38 attributed their success to ‘‘inheritance’’ and ‘‘family connections’’ in the Spectrem survey. But the same proportion also said ‘‘hard work’’ and ‘‘running my own business’’ played a role. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Suggestive frozen food ad to debut at the Super Bowl

Sex sells . . . frozen food dishes? Kraft Heinz’s frozen-food brand Devour is trying to make waves during its Super Bowl debut with an ad taking a humorous jab at one man’s ‘‘frozen food porn addiction.’’ The ad shows a woman talking about her boyfriend’s problem with ‘‘frozen food porn,’’ and says he watches it several times a day and has a hidden stash of photos of food. Among the suggestive lines is the girlfriend saying that the addiction has made him a ‘‘three-minute man,’’ i.e. the amount of time it takes to heat up a frozen meal. While raunchiness is somewhat incongruous with frozen foods, Kraft Heinz is taking that approach because the mix of sex and humor targets a specific demographic of millennial men 25 to 35. It launched in 2016 with the tagline ‘‘Food You Want to Fork.’’ Super Bowl ads have long used raunchiness and sex to stand out during the Super Bowl, advertising’s biggest stage. Think Cindy Crawford downing a Pepsi wearing skimpy shorts in 1992 or the 2013 GoDaddy ad that showed a squeamishly close-up shot of a kiss. But advertisers have largely toned it down in recent years, focusing instead on crowd-pleasing approaches using animals, humor or celebrities. Raunchy ads can easily cross the line, offending or polarizing a company’s intended target audience. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Hulu drops price following Netflix hike

Hulu is lowering the price of its entry-level, ad-supported online TV service by 25 percent to $6 a month — a week after Netflix Inc. raised prices. The on-demand video service, which features over 85,000 episodes of shows such as “The Good Doctor” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is keeping the price of its ad-free product the same at $12 a month. The changes take effect Feb. 26, the company said Wednesday. In cutting the price of its basic plan, Hulu is drawing distinction between itself and Netflix, which only last week raised its most-popular plan by $2, to $13 a month. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Google, Facebook, and Amazon spent record amount on lobbying last year

Google, Inc., and Facebook Inc. set company records for lobbying spending in 2018 as Washington’s scrutiny of Big Tech intensified. Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit spent more than $21 million to influence Washington, according to federal disclosures, in a year when its chief executive officer, Sundar Pichai, made his first appearance before Congress. The search giant, which spent $4.9 million in the last three months of the year, according to a Tuesday filing, beat its previous record of more than $18 million from 2017. Inc. reported spending $3.7 million in the fourth quarter, bringing its total to $14.2 million for the year, more than the record $12.8 million the company spent in 2017. Facebook spent nearly $13 million on lobbying, the filings say, as it dealt with the fallout from privacy scandals, the congressional testimony of its chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, and data vulnerabilities. It spent $2.83 million during the quarter. In 2017, Facebook spent more than $11.5 million on lobbying, the previous record. — BLOOMBERG NEWS