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Delivery Hero to buy Woowa Brothers; Walgreens, McKesson form German pharma JV

TOP NEWS

* Online food ordering and delivery service Delivery Hero SE agreed to buy South Korea's Woowa Brothers Corp. for €3.6 billion as the German company seeks to expand in the fast-growing Asian market. Delivery Hero will pay a U.S.-dollar equivalent of €1.7 billion in cash and €1.9 billion in shares for 100% ownership of Woowa. In late-morning trading in Germany, Delivery Hero's shares traded up €10.38, or 20.7%, at €60.54.

* Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and McKesson Corp. agreed to form a joint venture combining their pharmaceutical wholesale businesses in Germany. Walgreens will own 70% of the venture and McKesson the remaining 30%. The business will combine the operations of Walgreens' Alliance Healthcare Deutschland AG and McKesson's GEHE Pharma Handel. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* Andy Dunn, the co-founder of Walmart Inc.-owned men's clothing startup Bonobos Inc., is leaving the retail company in early 2020. Dunn disclosed the move in a letter published on employment-oriented platform LinkedIn, without stating the reason for his departure.

* French luxury fashion brand Balmain named Jean-Jacques Guével as its new CEO, Women's Wear Daily reported, citing multiple sources and a company confirmation. Balmain reportedly said Guével, who is the chief executive of Zadig et Voltaire, will start in February 2020 and succeed Massimo Piombini, who stepped down in October 2019.

* Anna Bakst, CEO of Tapestry Inc.-owned Kate Spade, will leave the company at the end of 2019, the company said in a statement. Tapestry named CFO Joanne Crevoiserat as interim chief of the brand until it finds a successor.

* Li & Fung Ltd. teamed up with technology startup First Insight Inc. to integrate customer analytics into its digital supply chain solutions, helping brands select, price and buy products for their stores.

* Destination Maternity Corp. will liquidate its remaining stores after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan Linehan Shannon decided that there was no conflict of interest with Marquee Brands LLC's acquisition of the retailer, Bloomberg News reported, citing a statement from Shannon. Liquidation specialists Hilco Merchant Resources LLC and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC worked for Destination Maternity before teaming up on the winning bid for the apparel chain, the report said.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Macy's Inc. appointed Torrence Boone to its board, effective Dec. 12, bringing its number of directors to 12. Boone is vice president of global client partnerships at Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC.

E-COMMERCE

* Amazon.com Inc. will open a distribution center in the northern Brazilian state of Pernambuco in 2020, Reuters reported, citing a company statement. The new site, which is expected to begin operations in the first half of 2020, reportedly will be Amazon's second facility in the country.

* Rakuten Inc. will execute an absorption-type merger with its wholly owned subsidiary, Amrit.DC Co. Ltd., effective April 1, 2020. Amrit, which was established in December 2009, operates an online store selling pet supplies. The Japanese internet services group said the purpose of the merger is to "increase operational efficiencies and to improve the quality of its services."

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* Henkel AG & Co. KGaA expects organic sales growth in fiscal 2020 to be flat to 2% and adjusted EBIT margin of about 15% due to an uncertain industrial environment as well as higher investments in marketing, advertising and digitalization. Henkel also anticipates adjusted EPS in 2020 to dip by a mid- to high-single-digit percentage at constant exchange rates compared to its projected EPS of about €5.45 in 2019.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* J Sainsbury PLC has received takeover bids for its £1.9 billion mortgage book but some high street lenders, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander UK, did not submit proposals, Sky News reported. The move comes after Tesco PLC sold its Tesco Bank to Lloyds Banking Group in the summer of 2019, the report said.

HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS

* Costco Wholesale Corp. reported diluted EPS for its fiscal first quarter rose to $1.90 from $1.73. Net sales grew 5.6% year over year to $36.24 billion, excluding annual membership fees, while comparable sales rose 4.3%.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Chinese conglomerate Haier Group Corp. plans to list its household appliances unit Haier Smart Home Co. Ltd. on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to take another company unit private, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Haier Smart Home, formerly known as Qingdao Haier, reportedly will offer to exchange its newly issued Hong Kong shares for those held by minority shareholders of Haier Electronics Group Co. Ltd. It expects the deal to close by the second half of 2020.

* Brazilian home improvement retailer Via Varejo SA said it expects to book a financial impact of 1.2 billion reais to 1.4 billion reais in the fourth quarter due to an internal investigation into accounting fraud at the company, Reuters reported, citing a securities filing.

HOTELS, RESORTS AND CRUISE LINES

* Thomas Cook Group PLC will be relaunched in the first half of 2020 after Fosun Tourism Group bought the U.K. travel operator's brand for £11 million, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The source reportedly said Fosun's existing travel offerings will be grouped under the liquidated brand in a bid to draw in more customers.

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The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng inched up 2.57% to 27,687.76, and the Nikkei 225 rose 2.55% to 24,023.10.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 1.84% to 7,406.99, and the Euronext 100 increased 1.11% to 1,138.63.

On the macro front

The retail sales report, the import and export prices, the business inventories report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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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