* Pershing Square Capital Management LP CEO and activist investor William Ackman revealed his company holds 15.2 million shares in Starbucks Corp. Pershing purchased the shares in Starbucks at an average of $51 per share, according to Ackman's presentation at a conference in New York. The presentation highlighted Starbucks' long runway for single-digit unit growth and a strong focus on the core business and share buybacks of about $14 billion over the next 2 years. The holding represents about 1.1% stake in the global coffee chain, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* Japanese beverage maker Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd said it will start the sale process for its Lion Dairy & Drinks business following a strategic review of the unit. Kirin placed the dairy products and beverages unit under review last month after it reported lower revenue and profit in the group's half-year results. Kirin and its wholly owned subsidiary Lion Pty. Ltd., which manages the company's beverage business in the Oceania region, concluded that separating Lion Dairy & Drinks is the best option for the group.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* Walmart Inc.'s Canadian business said it has researched selling cannabis-based products, but there are no immediate plans to delve into the business. Recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada beginning Oct. 17, opening the Canadian market to retailers looking to capitalize on the product. "As we would for any new industry, Walmart Canada has done some preliminary fact-finding on this issue, but we do not have plans to carry CBD products at this time," Walmart said in a statement provided to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* Franchisees of the fast-food chain Jack in the Box Inc. are urging the company to replace its CEO Leonard Comma and change the management team, adding that "lack of corporate resources" led to a fall in sales. The membership of the National Jack in the Box Franchisee Association, which is composed of franchisees that represent the ownership of about 2,000 out of about 2,240 restaurants, also urged the company to hire a chief marketing officer. According to Bloomberg News, Jack in the Box said it will work with the franchisees to "to develop and refine our strategy for success, and ensure our ultimate goals are fully aligned."
* Restaurant Brands International Inc.'s Burger King is planning to speed up its international expansion by opening restaurants in sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria, the Financial Times reported, citing Restaurant Brands CEO Daniel Schwartz. The hamburger chain was "significantly under-penetrated" in the continent and sees huge opportunity there, Schwartz said. Burger King is expected to open 1,000 restaurants by the end of the year, most of which will be in Asia and Europe, the report said.
* Patisserie Holdings PLC, owner of U.K.-based café chain Patisserie Valerie, has suspended its CFO, Chris Marsh, after its board was notified of "significant, and potentially fraudulent" accounting irregularities. According to a filing to the London Stock Exchange, the company requested that its shares be suspended from trading on London's AIM market while it conducts an investigation. Patisserie Holdings said, "This has significantly impacted the company's cash position and may lead to a material change in its overall financial position."
* Daniel Loeb's Third Point LLC has increased its stake in Campbell Soup Co. to 6.98% from 5.65%, according to an SEC filing. Three of Third Point's nominees to the Campbell's board also unveiled stakes in the soup giant. Lawrence Karlson, Michael Silverstein and William Toler all represent less than a 1% stake.
* Australian food manufacturer SPQR Holdings Pty. Ltd. issued a recall of its Cucina Classica Penne al' Arrabiata due to an incorrect use-by date on the label, according to an announcement from the New South Wales Food Authority. The products affected have a use-by date of March 13, 2019. They are being recalled by SPQR from select Woolworths Group Ltd. and Wesfarmers Ltd.-owned Coles stores, as well as Foodland, Drakes and Romeo's locations in South Australia.
* Cadbury owner Mondelez International Inc. said it will make all packaging recyclable by 2025. The food and beverage giant will work in partnerships to collect packaging from the markets around the world to recycle it and said it will provide recycling information by 2025. Mondelez also committed to sustainably source all paper-based packaging and eliminate 65 million kilograms of packaging material worldwide by 2020.
* Australia-listed Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd., owned by Coca-Cola Co., said it acquired a minority stake in Singapore-based restaurant tech startup TabSquare through its Amatil X corporate venturing platform. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. TabSquare provides smart in-restaurant solutions that help improve operational efficiency for restaurant owners and personalize customers' dining experience.
* Scotland-based brewer and bar operator BrewDog PLC plans to go public by 2020 but has not decided whether to list in London or New York, The Times reported. BrewDog, which is exploring options with its financial advisers, is improving its internal systems before a possible IPO, the report added, citing the brewer's co-founder, James Watt.
TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS
* Hong Kong is set to impose a ban on e-cigarettes, following advice from the World Health Organization amid concerns about their appeal to young adults, Bloomberg News reported, citing Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Hong Kong follows at least 27 countries that have banned e-cigarettes, the report added.
* British American Tobacco PLC Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Gray will step down from the company's management board at the end of December and leave the group March 31, 2019, according to a filing to the London Stock Exchange. The London-based tobacco company said Gray will be succeeded by Kingsley Wheaton, who is regional director for the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa. The appointment will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, Hang Seng increased 0.08% to 26,193.07, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.16% to 23,506.04.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.01% to 7,238.30, and the Euronext 100 decreased 0.56% to 1,025.23.
On the macro front
The MBA mortgage applications report, the Producer Price Index-Final Demand report, the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations report and the Wholesale trade report is 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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