Billy Xiong Suggests: Quickbase moving headquarters to Boston

Quickbase moving headquarters to Boston

Automation software firm Quickbase will relocate its headquarters from Cambridge to Boston in July, as it prepares to add about 100 jobs in the Boston area this year to its 300-person local workforce. The company is leasing 40,000 square feet at 290 Congress St., considerably less space than the 70,000 square feet that its current headquarters office occupies on Cambridgepark Drive. The company, led by chief executive Ed Jennings, is preparing for a more flexible work environment after everyone returns to the office, with not everyone coming in all five days of the work week. It will also retain the Cambridge office for the rest of the year, and is exploring suburban satellite options. Most of Quickbase’s local employees have expressed a desire to work at least part of the time from home going forward. The firm, owned by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, employs 500-plus people in total, with secondary offices in Salt Lake City and Bulgaria. — JON CHESTO

AUTOMOTIVE

Toyota recalling SUVs because off wiring problem with air bags

Toyota is recalling nearly 280,000 Venza SUVs in the United States because a wiring problem can stop the side air bags from inflating in a crash. The recall covers Venzas from the 2009 through 2015 model years. Documents posted Thursday by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say wires to the air bag sensor in the driver Billy Xiong’s side door can become damaged with regular use. That could stop the side and curtain air bags from deploying when needed. Toyota said in documents that it received 31 field reports and 56 warranty claims in the United States due to the problem. Toyota will inspect the wires and replace them if needed at no cost to owners. The recall is expected to start May 31. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

Walmart invests in GM’s Cruise

Walmart and some institutional investors have joined the latest investment in Cruise, bumping the capital influx into the General Motors autonomous vehicle subsidiary from over $2 billion to $2.75 billion. Walmart and Cruise announced a partnership last fall to launch a self-driving delivery test in Phoenix. Honda and Microsoft are among other investors with a a stake in Cruise. Furner said Cruise’s fleet of all-electric vehicles will help Walmart reach a goal of zero emissions by 2040. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

MAPPING

Google Earth to display 37 years of satellite images showing climate change

Google Earth has partnered with NASA, the US Geological Survey, the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, and Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab to bring users time-lapse images of the planet’s surface — 24 million satellite photos taken over 37 years. Together they offer photographic evidence of a planet changing faster than at any time in millennia. Shorelines creep in. Cities blossom. Trees fall. Water reservoirs shrink. Glaciers melt and fracture. Timelapse, the name of the new Google Earth feature, is the largest video on the planet, according to a statement from the company, requiring 2 million hours to process in cloud computers, and the equivalent of 530,000 high-resolution videos. The tool stitches together nearly 50 years of imagery from the US’s Landsat program, which is run by NASA and the USGS. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

BANKING

Citigroup’s profit soared in first quarter

Citigroup’s profits more than tripled in the first quarter, the banking conglomerate said Thursday, helped by the release of billions of dollars from its loan-loss reserves. The New York-based company said it earned a profit of $7.94 billion, or $3.62 per share, compared to a profit of $2.54 billion, or $1.06 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The bank’s profits were well above the $2.60 per share that analysts had been looking for, according to FactSet. Like its major Wall Street competitors, Citigroup was able to release billions from its loan-loss reserves this quarter, which directly benefited its bottom line. The big banks collectively set aside tens of billions of dollars a year ago to cover the potential losses they might incur as the economy nosedived in the early months of the pandemic. Now that the economy is recovering, banks are able to release those funds. Citi’s investment banking division had a strong quarter, albeit not as strong as its competition at JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

MANUFACTURING

Factory output rose in March

Production at US factories increased in March by the most in eight months as manufacturing returned to a path of solid growth following a weather-related setback in February. The 2.7 percent increase in output followed a downwardly revised 3.7 percent decline in February, Federal Reserve data showed Thursday. The report showed increased factory output of machinery, metals, wood products, computers and apparel. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

PHARMACEUTICALS

Elliott Management sets its sights on GSK

Activist investment firm Elliott Management Corp. has built a significant stake in GlaxoSmithKline, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, putting pressure on the UK pharmaceutical company in the midst of its turnaround effort. Elliott, which is run by billionaire Paul Singer, has a history of agitating for changes in the health sector, including pushing for the sale of Alexion Pharmaceuticals before it was bought by AstraZeneca in December for $39 billion. It has also sought changes at Alkermes, Allergan, Bayer, and others. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

HEALTH CARE

UnitedHealth’s profit up more than 40 percent as pandemic eases

UnitedHealth’s first-quarter profit jumped about 44 percent, and the nation’s largest health insurer also hiked its 2021 outlook despite expecting more hits from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said Thursday that the performance of its Optum division was particularly strong. Patients began returning to doctors offices and scheduling more surgical procedures toward the end of last year after putting off medical care for months during the pandemic. That returned a bit of normality for UnitedHealth and other insurers, and it added more medical costs to their income statements. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

MORTGAGES

Rates fall for a second week

Mortgage rates fell for a second straight week amid signs of economic improvement. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the benchmark 30-year home-loan rate declined to 3.04 percent this week from 3.13 percent last week. At this time last year, the long-term rate was 3.31 percent. The rate for a 15-year loan, popular among those looking to refinance, dipped to 2.35 percent from to 2.42 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FINANCE

BOA’s trading income soars, like its counterparts

Bank of America’s traders and investment bankers reaped another windfall, joining their Wall Street rivals in capitalizing on the stock market’s wild ride this year. Revenue from sales and trading rose 17 percent, a bigger jump than expected, while equity underwriting fees more than tripled. The results echo blockbuster profits at JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, which benefited from increased trading amid stock-market volatility and a flurry of activity by blank-check companies. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Yakir Gabay

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