REAL ESTATE

Home sales end 2015 strong

Americans rushed to buy new homes in December at the strongest pace in 10 months, with 2015 marking the strongest year for this segment of the housing market since 2007.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new-home sales surged 10.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000. It was the third consecutive monthly gain since sales collapsed in September. The increase nearly pulled the sales rate even with the level of 545,000 in February 2015 and points to continued momentum for real estate and construction in the opening months of this year.

Sales of new homes accelerated sharply in 2015, rising 14.5 percent on the entire year to 501,000.

RESTAURANTS

Bob Evans to go cage-free

Bob Evans Farms will obtain its eggs from cage-free sources by 2025.

The New Albany-based chain, with 547 restaurants in 18 states and a growing prepared-foods division, is the latest in a long list of food companies pledging to switch to cage-free eggs, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Wendy’s announced earlier this month a plan to source only cage-free eggs by 2020.

Bob Evans uses more than 100 million eggs a year.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook revenues soar

The world’s largest social network brought in $5.84 billion in revenue in its fourth quarter, up 30 percent from $3.85 billion the previous year. Profit more than doubled to $1.56 billion during the three months ended Dec. 31, up from $701 million a year earlier.

Facebook also reported that it now has 1.59 billion monthly active users, a 14 percent increase year over year, and that more than 1 billion people now use the social network every day.

Although Facebook shares were down 3 percent during regular trading, closing at $94.45, the company’s earnings results, announced after the close of trading, buoyed its stock price after hours.

SOFTWARE

New Microsoft partnerships

Microsoft on Wednesday announced a set of deals to more tightly integrate services built by other software makers into its Office suite.

People who store Office files on Box or Dropbox, along with two other popular online file storage and sharing services, will now be able to edit those documents at the same time as other users. Previously, that function was only available for Office documents stored on a Microsoft service.

The new links between Office and other software are part of Seattle-based Microsoft’s effort to broaden the reach of its products by partnering with other software makers, including competitors.

BROADCASTING

Nexstar buys Media General

Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. emerged victorious Wednesday in its contentious, months-long bid to become the nation’s second largest broadcaster.

Nexstar, based outside Dallas, said it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Media General, finally edging out publisher Meredith to consummate a deal valued at $4.6 billion. The three media companies have been in a public tug of war since September when Nexstar’s first public offer for Media General was soundly rejected.

In Ohio, Nexstar operates a TV station serving the Steubenville area. Media General has stations in Youngstown, Columbus and Dayton.

INTERNET

Wireless venture to debut

Aereo founder Chet Kanojia, whose first attempt to shake up the cable industry was quashed by the Supreme Court, is ready to try again.

Starry will be a wireless Internet service that, unlike cellphones, promises to be speedier than cable and designed for single locations such as homes and small businesses. The service is expected to launch in Boston this summer, with plans to expand to other U.S. cities.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.