* French spirits maker Pernod Ricard SA is considering the sale of two of its whisky brands — Wall Street and Natu Nobilis — for an undisclosed amount, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the development. The move comes as part of the distiller's strategy to focus on investing in its fast-growing products. The discussions about the sale of the brands, both produced in Latin America, are in early stages, and Pernod Ricard may decide against a deal, the sources said.
* As expected, Amazon.com Inc. and private equity firm Samara Capital Management Ltd. will acquire Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd.'s More supermarket chain for 41 billion to 42 billion Indian rupees, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing two executives. The executives said the acquisition will close within the next 10 days, possibly as early as this week, with the U.S. giant holding 49% of More and Samara Capital owning 51%.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* French food retailer Carrefour SA said it has formed a food advisory committee to support the company's food transition initiatives, which are aimed at promoting healthier diets among consumers and protecting the environment. Emmanuel Faber, CEO of French dairy company Danone, is part of the newly established group, along with Carrefour's general secretary, Laurent Vallée, who will lead the committee.
* Private equity firm Everstone Capital Asia Pte Ltd is set to sell a 20% stake in Burger King Worldwide Inc.'s Indian arm in a deal that could value the company at $300 million to $350 million, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing people familiar with the development. According to the report, a total of about 30% to 35% of Burger King India will be sold. Everstone holds about 88% of the burger giant's Indian unit and will remain the controlling stakeholder after the transaction, while Burger King Worldwide owns the remaining 12%.
* Restaurant Brands New Zealand Ltd is not renewing its license agreement with Starbucks Corp. and instead is selling its fixed assets and stock of the local coffee business to New Zealand-based Tahua Capital Ltd. for NZ$4.4 million. Tahua Capital will enter into a new license agreement with Starbucks and plans to refurbish existing stores and open new ones. It intends to retain the 300 existing Starbucks New Zealand employees on the same terms and conditions they had under Restaurant Brands. The transaction is expected to be completed in late October.
* Dunkin' Donuts will invest $100 million in a plan to roll out 50 test stores in the U.S. that will allow customers to order coffee via mobile, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Katherine Jaspon, CFO of the coffee and donut chain's parent, Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. The new store concept will include dedicated pickup areas, digital kiosks and expanded drive-through windows where mobile orders will be prioritized, according to the report. More than $50 million will go to the concept stores' equipment while the rest will be spent on technology, infrastructure and training, WSJ reported.
* Brazilian food manufacturer BRF SA said Sept. 3 that it appointed Elcio Ito as chief financial and investor relations officer. Ito will succeed Global COO Lorival Luz, who temporarily filled the position.
* Indian biscuit maker Britannia Industries Ltd. is likely to invest 3 billion to 3.5 billion rupees in a new manufacturing facility in Bengal, India, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing a company executive. Bengal, according to the executive, is the third-largest market for Britannia in India. It already has two sites in the province, and the western part of the region alone contributes over 7.5 billion rupees to the company's revenue.
* Australia-based Capilano Honey Ltd. came under fire for selling "adulterated" honey, or honey mixed with other substances, after the results of 12 of the 28 samples tested at an international scientific lab came back positive, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The test, called nuclear magnetic resonance, which is used to detect the impurities, confirmed that the honey was not 100% pure. The company denied the allegations.
* The J. M. Smucker Co. completed the $375 million sale of its U.S. baking business to Brynwood Partners VII LP and Brynwood Partners VIII LP, subsidiaries of private equity firm Brynwood Partners. The deal includes brands such as Pillsbury, Martha White, Hungry Jack, White Lily and Jim Dandy, as well as their relevant trademarks and licensing agreements and the company's manufacturing facility in Toledo, Ohio. The transaction excludes the company's baking business in Canada.
* Brazilian meat producer Marfrig Global Foods SA promoted chief financial officer Jose Eduardo de Oliveira Miron to the role of CEO, replacing Martin Secco Arias. According to Reuters, Marfrig also appointed Marco Antonio Spada CFO, succeeding Miron, who steered the $2.16 billion sale of Keystone Foods LLC to Tyson Foods Inc. in August.
* India's ITC Ltd plans to roll out ready-to-drink, milk-based beverages in October to take on Coca-Cola Co.'s local arm, Anand Milk Union Ltd. and Britannia Industries Ltd., The Economic Times (India) reported, citing ITC Divisional Chief Executive of Foods Hemant Malik. The Kolkata-based company, which primarily makes tobacco products but also offers ready-to-eat and snack foods, juices and beverages, will launch its new Sunfeast Wonderz product range in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh before rolling it out nationwide. The report added that the new drink line will use real fruit pulp for the milkshakes, which will be manufactured at ITC's facility in Kapurthala, Punjab.
* Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits company owned by Paris-based multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, is collaborating with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Tmall to boost its luxury liquor offerings via an online platform, China's Jing Daily reported. The partnership aims to cater to rising consumer demand and will also boost the data collaboration between Moët Hennessy Diageo China and Alibaba, in which Alibaba will grant access to its database to provide insights into Chinese consumer behaviors. The collaboration includes plans for "new retail" initiatives, marketing and communication, and intellectual property, according to the report.
* China reported another case of swine fever in the city of Wuxi in eastern Jiangsu province, making it the eighth case since the disease's presence in the country was first revealed, according to Reuters. The recent outbreak killed nine hogs and infected 12 others on a farm containing 97 hogs, the news outlet reported, citing the ministry.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, Hang Seng gained 0.94% to 27,973.34, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.05% to 22,696.90.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.30% to 7,481.73, and the Euronext 100 shed 0.94% to 1,049.48.
On the macro front
The Purchasing Managers' manufacturing index, the Institute For Supply Management's manufacturing index and the construction spending report 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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