* New York officials initially offered Amazon.com Inc. $1.4 billion of tax credits and $1.1 billion of various grants to have the company build its second headquarters in the state, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing documents from Empire State Development. The value reportedly is nearly $800 million more than the eventually agreed upon value of $1.2 billion in tax credits plus $505 million in reimbursements. Matthew Gorton, a spokesman for the state's economic development authority, told the newspaper that the initial offer reflected the original, larger scope of HQ2.
* Canadian department store chain Hudson's Bay Co. agreed with a group of shareholders to be taken private in an improved deal, in which the company will acquire stock held by minority shareholders at C$11 per share in cash. Private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group, the company's largest minority shareholder with a 17.48% stake, will will vote in favor of the transaction. A special shareholders meeting will be held in February to approve the deal.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* Tapestry Inc.-owned luxury goods brand Coach named former Camuto Group Inc. executive Susan Pellish-Thaler as general manager, vice president of North American wholesale, effective Jan. 6, Women's Wear Daily reported.
* Sequential Brands Group Inc. named ThreeSixty Brands boss David Conn as CEO and board director, succeeding Karen Murray, who left in October 2019.
* Department store chain Debenhams PLC named Abigail Comber as its chief marketing officer, effective Jan. 7. Comber will replace Erin Brookes, who is serving in the role on an interim basis.
* Amazon.com Inc.'s Indian arm will become the authorized online sales channel for Future Retail Ltd.'s stores, India's Mint reported, citing a joint statement from the two companies. Future Retail reportedly plans to list on Amazon Prime Now in order to offer food, grocery and general merchandise delivery within two hours in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Amazon Retail India Pvt. Ltd. agreed to distribute Future Consumer Ltd.'s portfolio of brands online, the report added.
* Amazon.com Inc. is looking into opening stores in Germany since "customers shop offline and they like variety," Reuters reported, citing Amazon Germany head Ralf Kleber in an interview with newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Kleber reportedly also said the company is pushing for people to use their Alexa voice-controlled devices for shopping.
FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING
* German grocer Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Co. oHG said sales in the four weeks to Dec. 24, 2019, rose 7.9% year over year, compared with the 10% growth in the holiday period of 2018, the Financial Times (London) reported. Aldi exceeded £1 billion in revenue for the first time, driven by strong growth across all key categories and the addition of 47 more stores in 2019 than in the previous year, the report added.
HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS
* Carrefour SA acquired lunch delivery startup Dejbox for an undisclosed amount. The French retailer plans to expand its e-grocery offerings to include ready-to-eat meals and a business-to-employee service. Dejbox employs 300 workers and has logistics hubs in the cities of Lille, Lyon, Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes and Grenoble.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* British music store chain HMV Group PLC, which was rescued by Canada's Sunrise Records Ltd., said it will close three shops at the end of January due to "extortionate" business rates, The Guardian reported. "There are currently 10 stores where negotiations with landlords are ongoing and we are hopeful of securing new deals," a company spokesman reportedly said.
LEISURE PRODUCTS AND FACILITIES
* Florida-based Town Sports International Holdings Inc. agreed to acquire part of spin studio operator Flywheel Sports Inc. from Kennedy Lewis Management LP, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Sources reportedly said Kennedy Lewis will receive a 15% stake in Town Sports as part of the deal, which does not include Flywheel's at-home cycling business unit. The fitness club operator and the investment group did not respond to requests for comment, the report added. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
HOTELS, RESORTS AND CRUISE LINES
* Spain's NH Hotel Group SA agreed to operate eight five-star hotels owned by Covivio's Italian arm, Reuters reported, citing a company statement. The hotels, which will be operated by the company for at least 15 years, are located in Italy in Rome, Florence and Venice; Nice, France; Prague; and Budapest, Hungary, the report added.
CASINOS AND GAMING
* Pan Zhengming, CEO of 500.com Ltd., temporarily stepped down, effective Dec. 30, 2019, while the company faces an investigation into whether it bribed lawmakers in Japan, the Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing the sports betting group's statement to investors. The move comes after Tokyo prosecutors arrested a former head of 500.com's Japanese operations and two former consultants, the report said.
* China-based Rise Education Cayman Ltd. appointed Lihong Wang as its new CEO, replacing Yiding Sun. Sun will remain vice chairman of the company. Wang, who also serves as the company's chairwoman, has been a director since September 2013.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng lost 0.79% to 28,226.19, while the Nikkei 225 was down 1.91% to 23,204.86.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slid 0.94% to 7,550.50, and the Euronext 100 fell 1.13% to 1,144.27.
On the macro front
The PMI Services Index and TD Ameritrade IMX are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
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