Facebook will acquire two-year-old Oculus VR, a maker of virtual-
reality glasses for gaming, for $2 billion, buying its way into the fast-growing wearable-devices arena with its first hardware deal. ¶ The acquisition, which comes hot on the heels of its $19 billion deal for messaging service Whats­App, marks a big bet by Facebook to anticipate the next shift in an evolving tech industry. ¶ “We’re making a long-term bet that immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s daily life,” Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said. ¶ Zuckerberg stressed that Facebook’s plans for Oculus extend well beyond games. ¶ Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey promised its passionate fans that not much would change in the company’s day-to-day operations. Still, many protested the move.

Business

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), whose House panel is investigating GM’s belated recall of 1.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars, said an auto-safety law passed in 2000 required the automaker to inform regulators about the problem within five business days or face as much as $35 million in civil penalties.

Bank of America will spend $9.33 billion to resolve a dispute over mortgage securities with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency sued 18 financial institutions in 2011 over their sales of mortgage securities to Fannie and Freddie. It alleges many banks falsely represented the mortgage loans behind the securities. These soured after the housing bubble burst and lost billions of dollars in value.

Separately, New York’s attorney general said Bank of America and its former chief executive, Kenneth Lewis, reached a $25 million settlement to end an investigation into their actions in the 2008 acquisition of Merrill Lynch. The bank will pay $15 million. Lewis, 67, is prohibited for three years from serving as an officer or director of a public company. He will pay $10 million.

Lehman Brothers Holdings’ creditors will receive $17.9 billion next month in the fifth distribution since the company filed the biggest U.S. bankruptcy at the peak of the financial crisis.

Bernard L. Madoff’s five former aides were convicted of charges that they helped their boss conceal his billion-dollar Ponzi scheme for years. Madoff, 75, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in March 2009.

Carlyle Group named Michael J. Cavanagh, a protege of Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase, and Glenn A. Youngkin, a 19-year Carlyle veteran and its chief operating officer, to be co-presidents of the private-equity firm.

Bitcoins will be treated as property, not currency, the IRS said, leaving questions for bitcoin holders filing their taxes.

Deals

Intel bought Basis Science, the start-up behind the fitness tracker by the same name, for an undisclosed sum. The deal comes as the market for wearable gadgets is heating up. The Basis band tracks users’ activity level, heart rate, sleep patterns and other data.

Economy

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, slightly more than the 2.4 percent estimate, as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years. For 2013, the economy grew at a lackluster 1.9 percent after growth of 2.8 percent in 2012.

The Federal Reserve hasn’t significantly changed its intentions for raising interest rates despite a faster-than- expected drop in unemployment, a key Fed official said.

Washington

Federal agents tipped off 3,000 companies last year about cyber­attacks, White House officials have told industry executives.

Transitions

Northwestern University football players can unionize, a National Labor Relations Board official ruled.

Paying welfare benefits by debit card instead of cash caused a 10 percent drop in crime, a study found.

The Washington Monument is set to reopen May 12 after $15 million in repairs of earthquake damage.

The Affordable Care Act hit a symbolic target — 6 million sign-ups and counting in the program’s first year. What’s still unclear is the health status of those joining the exchanges. Insurers say adding a cheaper level of coverage would help attract healthier people, who might not feel that strongly about their need for health insurance.

— From news services and staff reports

$7.09 billion
King Digital Entertainment value

The maker of the Candy Crush smartphone game raised $500 million in its initial stock offering. It suffered a steep 16 percent first-day decline in share value. King’s core title accounted for a stunning 78 percent of all of its revenue in the final quarter of 2013. And 95 percent of its revenue comes from three titles: Candy Crush Saga, Pet Rescue and Farm Heroes Saga.