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* Tesco PLC's shares jumped 4.6% after the U.K. supermarket operator said it had begun a strategic review of its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia, including the option of a possible sale. The grocery retailer said the move followed "inbound interest," although it did not identify the entity that made the approach.
* Prosus NV, the European listed arm of Naspers Ltd., raised its takeover bid for British food delivery company Just Eat PLC to 740 pence per share from 710 pence, challenging Takeaway.com NV's merger offer. Prosus' revised offer price represents a 25.6% premium to Just Eat's closing price of 589 pence on Oct. 21. Takeaway.com responded to Prosus' new offer, saying that it remains "derisory, offering a cash premium of only 16%." Just Eat said it was reviewing the offer and advised shareholders to take no action.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* Rhode Island-based food distributor United Natural Foods Inc. agreed to sell 13 of its 43 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores to three different grocery operators. The owner of SuperValu Inc. grocery stores did not disclose the buyers and financial terms. The transactions are expected to close between mid-December and the end of February 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.
* Coca-Cola HBC AG completed the acquisition of Italy-based mineral water and sparkling-beverages maker Acque Minerali Srl, owner of the Lurisia brand, for an enterprise value of €88 million.
* Japanese brewer Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. said it will acquire by the end of March 2020 all the remaining shares in Singapore-based vending machine operator Advend Systems Pte. Ltd. that it does not already own, the Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing a company statement. The financial terms of the deal were reportedly not disclosed.
* Agribusiness Cargill Inc. introduced a new pea protein, called Radipure, for Asian markets, Xinhua Net reported, citing Franck Monmont, managing director of Cargill's starches, sweeteners & texturizers unit in Asia. The non-GMO protein, targeted at meeting rising consumer demand for plant-based food, can reportedly be used in dairy, ready-to-drink beverages and baked goods.
* New Zealand's The a2 Milk Co. Ltd. announced that CEO and Managing Director Jayne Hrdlicka has decided to step down from the position. Former CEO Geoffrey Babidge was named interim CEO, effective immediately. The milk company said it hopes to find Hrdlicka's replacement before the end of fiscal 2020.
* Brazilian packaged foods company Marfrig Global Foods SA is planning to launch a plant-based meat products brand, according to a statement sent to Reuters. Separately, the news wire reported that Marfrig expects to raise about 2.3 billion reais through a secondary offering that will allow BNDES, the Brazilian development bank, to sell its 34% stake in the company. Marfrig reportedly plans to issue 90 million new shares to bring the total amount raised to 3.3 billion reais.
* Marfrig Global Foods SA signed an agreement with the government of São Paulo to invest 600 million reais to expand its plant's processing capacity to 100,000 tonnes of animal and vegetal proteins, Reuters reported, citing a company statement.
* Irish packaged foods company Kerry Group PLC and New York-based International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. are among the front-runners to purchase specialty chemicals company DuPont de Nemours Inc.'s nutrition business worth $25 billion, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The sources reportedly said a deal could be announced by the end of 2019. Representatives for IFF, DuPont and Kerry reportedly declined to comment.
* Brazilian meat processor JBS SA said it is exploring a sale of its assets in the U.S. as it aims to "compete as an equal with its international competitors," adding that it does not seek any tax benefits. However, the company said it will keep its headquarters in Brazil, denying previous reports from local newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
* The Unilever Group invested €85 million to establish a food innovation center, dubbed Hive, in the Netherlands. The center will focus on research related to plant-based ingredients and meat alternatives, efficient crops, sustainable food packaging and nutritious foods.
* John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's International Inc., filed a lawsuit against advertising firm Wasserman Media unit Laundry Service for allegedly recording a conference call without his knowledge in May 2018, wherein Forbes reported that he allegedly used a racial slur, CNBC reported. Schnatter reportedly said his "words were taken out of context" to incite a scandal against him. Wasserman Media and Laundry Service reportedly did not respond to requests for comment.
* Pizza chain Papa John's International Inc. reported third-quarter adjusted diluted EPS of 21 cents that missed the S&P Global Market Intelligence normalized EPS estimate of 22 cents, but was up from 19 cents in the year-ago quarter. The company also maintained its full-year adjusted EPS outlook. Separately, the company said CFO Joe Smith, Chief Marketing Officer Karlin Linhardt and Chief Operating and Growth Officer Mike Nettles will be leaving the company as part of a management reorganization.
* McDonald's Corp. appointed Catherine Engelbert, the commissioner for the Women's National Basketball Association, to its board, effective Dec. 6.
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