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Business news in brief

In the Region

DuPont, Dow Chemical in talks

Dow Chemical Co. and Wilmington-based DuPont Co. are in advanced talks to merge, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday evening, citing sources familiar with the plan whom it didn't identify. The companies may announce a merger in the coming days, and it would be followed by a three-way breakup of the combined company. A deal has not yet been finalized and the talks could fall apart, the sources said. Dow Chemical's CEO Andrew Liveris would be executive chairman of the new company and DuPont's new chief executive, Edward Breen, would remain CEO, according to the newspaper. DuPont has a stock market capitalization of about $58 billion while Dow Chemical is valued at $59 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. - Bloomberg News

A.G. tries to block hospital deal

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said her office is joining the Federal Trade Commission in a bid to block the proposed merger of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System. Combined, the systems would control 64 percent of the market in the Harrisburg region, including Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry and Lebanon Counties, Kane's office said. An FTC complaint to be filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania alleges the systems "compete vigorously on price, quality of care, and services provided, both for inclusion in commercial health plan networks and to attract patients from one another," Kane said. Eliminating that competition would lead to higher prices for consumers, she said. Pinnacle has three hospitals, two in Harrisburg, where it is based, and one in Mechanicsburg. Pinnacle and Penn State Hershey said in a joint statement that they were disappointed by the FTC action and "would carefully examine our options in continuing to advocate for our partnership." - Harold Brubaker

Developer buys city garage

An affiliate of Brickstone Cos. has bought a two-story parking garage at 12th and Sansom Streets from the estate of property investor Samuel Rappaport for $14.5 million, according to records filed with the city. The affiliate, 123 South Owner L.L.C., which shares an address with Brickstone, closed last month on the garage, covering 26,550 square feet at 123 S. 12th St., according to the records. Brickstone managing partner John Connors did not return a call asking about plans for the property. The company recently bought the Hale Building at 1326 Chestnut St. and is developing a large mixed-use project with a Target store and a jumbo-size liquor shop on Chestnut between 11th and 12th Streets. - Jacob Adelman

Univest buying nearby bank

Univest Corp. in Souderton said it agreed to buy Fox Chase Bank in Souderton for $244.3 million, or $21 a share in cash and stock. The deal adds Fox Chase's $1.1 billion in loans and other assets and branches to Souderton's larger network in the northern suburbs. Univest, which has 29 branches, said that after the deal is completed, it will have $2.9 billion in loans and $3 billion in deposits. Fox Chase, founded in 1867, has 10 offices. This is the latest in a string of deals for suburban banks with less than $2 billion in assets, which face tough competition and high regulatory costs. - Inquirer staff

NextFab plans Del. workspace

NextFab, the Philadelphia-based operator of collaborative workspaces for 3-D printers and other computer-controlled tools for company founders, tech tinkerers and scholars, said it plans a Wilmington location thanks to a new $350,000 grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund. Founder Evan Malone said the 3,500-square-foot Delaware facility will open during the first half of 2016 in Wilmington's creative district. It will be much smaller than NextFab's flagship Washington Avenue location in South Philadelphia. - Joseph N. DiStefano

Toll Bros. earnings rise 12%

Toll Bros.' fiscal fourth-quarter earnings jumped nearly 12 percent, the Horsham-based home builder said Tuesday. Toll earned $147.2 million, or 80 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Oct. 31. That compares with earnings of $131.5 million, or 71 cents per share, a year ago. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations in the most recent quarter. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 83 cents per share. For that reason, the company's stock closed Tuesday at $34.88, down $2.64 a share or 7.04 percent. Revenue rose more than 6 percent to $1.44 billion in the most recent quarter. For the full fiscal year ending Oct. 31, the company said, it built 5,525 homes, and it expects to build between 5,600 and 6,600 homes next year. - AP

Area tech does another deal

Evolve IP, a Wayne-based cloud-computing firm offering remote data access, disaster recovery, Internet phone, and other services to corporate clients, said it acquired A.P.T. Inc. an Allentown software consulting firm, for an undisclosed price. It is the seventh acquisition for Evolve since its 2007 founding. The firm also has operations in Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Austin, Texas, and other markets, said Thomas J. Gravina, cofounder and CEO. A.P.T. founder Peter Bergquist said in a statement that his firm specializes in pharmaceutical and veterinary clients. - Joseph N. DiStefano

Publisher plans succession

James J. Tayoun, the former South Philadelphia state representative, city councilman, and restaurant owner who emerged from his early 1990s corruption sentence to build a new career as a publisher, said he had turned down a buyout offer from New York publisher Tom Allon, of City & State New York, for Tayoun's 6,000-circulation weekly paper, the Philadelphia Public Record. Tayoun, 85, is searching for a successor to own and operate his paper which plans to expand its political coverage statewide. - Joseph N. DiStefano