Looking back on the past 12 months, consumer companies have taught us all some valuable lessons: Before you tell the world you have funding secured for one of the biggest ever take-privates, you should probably have funding secured; when your shareholders tell you they do not want you to move your headquarters, you should listen, but if you plan on opening a new office, run it like an auction between cities so that you get the most attractive tax incentives.
The year ahead promises to be no less fascinating. The prospective IPOs of Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. should reveal more about the future of mobility, giving traditional automakers even more to think about. In the U.K., the proposed merger of grocers J Sainsbury PLC and Asda Stores Ltd. is by no means a given, and a regulatory intervention could have a wider impact on the sector. And that's before considering the fallout of the historic market swings over the 2018 holiday period, Brexit, mounting corporate debt, increasing shareholder activism and the ongoing "Trade Wars."
Chart of the week
Stock exchanges hope to lure record-setting unicorn IPOs in '19
With the likes of Uber and Lyft already scheduled to list, The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are ramping up their efforts to persuade some of Silicon Valley's biggest unicorns to enter the public markets with their help.
Auto industry balks as EU agrees to 37.5% CO2 reduction target
Europe's car industry association says the target is "totally unrealistic" and would necessitate massive investments in technology and infrastructure.
Nike execs boost FY'19 outlook on growing global revenue
But currency volatility will likely weigh on revenue growth in the third quarter and full fiscal year, executives at the sportswear giant said.
Nike stock continues post-earnings surge; execs preview focus on womenswear
Sales of womenswear products are growing fast for Nike, and the company wants to boost its market share of the category, executives said.
Brexit stockpiling buzz dismissed as small-fry concern for UK warehouse market
The U.K. industrial and logistics market is not seeing any discernible benefit from stockpiling goods and products as preparations for a no-deal Brexit escalate, despite widespread reports of increased demand for space.
Record-setting holiday shopping season could spark strong start to 2019
Economists anticipate a strong first quarter for retail in 2019, although trade tensions with China could complicate positive tailwinds from the holiday shopping season.
EU advances proposed ban on single-use plastics
Europe's legislative bodies could pass restrictions on single-use plastic straws, utensils and other items as soon as next year.
Food, Beverage & Tobacco
Altria exits own-brand e-cigarettes as competitors gain market share
Altria's $12.8 billion investment in Juul came after the tobacco giant lost market share in the burgeoning e-cigarette industry to up-starts that now dominate the business, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Altria downplays concerns of Juul, Philip Morris smoke-free competition
Executives said a new investment in Juul will not hurt Altria's separate partnership with Philip Morris to launch new smoke-free device in the U.S.
AB InBev, Tilray strike partnership to research cannabis-based drinks
Each company will invest up to $50 million in the venture, which will study nonalcoholic beverages containing two cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol.
General Mills plans pet food debuts in effort to boost Blue Buffalo
Sales in the company's pet segment declined 7% during the quarter ended Nov. 25, the latest portion of its business to weigh on General Mills' results in North America.
Unilever to acquire The Vegetarian Butcher
The Vegetarian Butcher and Unilever have worked together since 2016, when they jointly launched vegetarian meatballs marketed under Unilever's Unox brand.
Consumer Edge is a weekly collection of critical developments across the automotive; retail; and food, beverage, and tobacco industries that draws on exclusive analysis and value-added content from the Consumer News team at S&P Global Market Intelligence.