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Business news in brief

In the Region

Recovery Centers secures cash

Recovery Centers of America in King of Prussia said Wednesday it had secured a $231.5 million equity commitment from Deerfield Management Co. to build a network of addiction treatment centers. Recovery Centers said it had acquired eight sites in the Northeastern United States and planned to open its first facility in May in Earleville, Md., with additional campuses expected to open next year in the Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia areas. J. Brian O'Neill, who founded the company, said he hoped to change the model of addiction treatment, which often leads patients to travel far from their homes for care. "Our goal is to make substance abuse treatment as readily available as treatment for other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and asthma," O'Neill said in a news release. In the Philadelphia region, Recovery Centers said it has locations in Paoli, Blackwood, and Mays Landing, N.J. - Harold Brubaker

UIL closes deal with Iberdrola

UIL Holdings Corp., a Connecticut company that a year ago abandoned its effort to buy the Philadelphia Gas Works, on Wednesday closed its $3 billion acquisition by Iberdrola USA, a subsidiary of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola. The combined company will be called Avangrid Inc. and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange as "AGR." James P. Torgerson, president and chief executive of UIL, will be Avangrid's chief executive. Avangrid owns eight electric and natural gas utilities serving 3.1 million customers in New York and New England. It also owns a renewable energy subsidiary that is the second-largest wind energy producer in the U.S. with 5.6 gigawatts of generation capacity sited in 53 wind farms in 18 states. - Andrew Maykuth


Facebook lets you book a ride

Taking another page from its counterparts in Asia, Facebook will add a feature for booking a ride through its messaging application. Users of Facebook Messenger in the U.S. can summon an Uber car with a few taps starting Wednesday. The new feature for Messenger, which has more than 700 million users globally, will allow users to tap on a street address in a message and summon a ride. After booking, the app will let Uber customers easily share their estimated arrival times or coordinate splitting the fare with friends through Messenger. The feature is expected to be made available in other countries later. - Bloomberg News

Yahoo flogged over party tab

Yahoo's back in the headlines again, with harsh criticism from yet another activist investor who doesn't like how the company is being run. In a 99-slide presentation sent to Yahoo's board, Eric Jackson of the SpringOwl investment firm claimed that CEO Marissa Mayer spent $7 million on a Gatsby-esque "Roaring '20s" holiday party this year. He points to the bash as an example of the way he thinks Mayer has mishandled the company's money. A source said Yahoo disputes that figure, saying that the 4,000-attendee party really cost one-third of that price - roughly $2 million. A price tag in the millions, plus the theme of the party, has raised some eyebrows. Yahoo is celebrating its 20th anniversary. - Washington Post

U.S., Cuba near flights deal

Officials say the U.S. and Cuba have reached an understanding on restoring regularly scheduled commercial flights. U.S. and Cuban officials said the aviation deal was reached Wednesday in Washington, a day before the anniversary of the declaration of détente between the former Cold War foes. The deal paves the way for negotiations between the Cuban government and U.S. airlines that could take months, and it's not clear when the first flights will take off. The three officials weren't authorized to speak publicly and demanded anonymity. American and Cuban travelers now must fly on charter flights that are complicated to book, rarely involve an online portal, and often force prospective travelers to email documents and payment information back and forth with an agent. - Associated Press

Delta adding 40 jets to fleet

Delta Air Lines Inc. plans to add as many as 40 jetliners to refresh its fleet, reviving a plan that was scuttled earlier this year when pilots spurned a new contract agreement. "The opportunity was still on the table, and we took advantage of it," spokesman Michael Thomas said. The aircraft deal will be split between new Boeing Co. 737-900ER single-aisle planes and smaller, secondhand Embraer SA E-190s, Delta said Wednesday. The Boeing craft have a list value of about $2 billion before the discounts that are customary in the industry. Acquiring E-190s will support Delta's strategy of bringing higher-capacity planes while retiring its smallest regional models. The E-190s seat almost 100 passengers, and Delta has been putting out-of-production Boeing 717s on routes once flown by 76-seat jets, and using those aircraft to replace ones carrying 50 fliers.
- Bloomberg News