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Walmart technology chief to leave; McDonald's appeals EU trademark cancellation


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Walmart technology chief to leave; McDonald's appeals EU trademark cancellation


* Walmart Inc. Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President Jeremy King will leave the company March 29, according to an internal memo seen by S&P Global Market Intelligence. King has been in the position since 2016. Walmart spokesperson Jenn Ericksen told S&P Global Market Intelligence that King is "going to another, non-competing company, which should be announced in the coming days."

* As expected, McDonald's Corp. is set to appeal to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, or EUIPO, against the cancellation of its Big Mac trademark, World Intellectual Property Review reported. Irish fast-food chain Supermac's Holdings Ltd. filed an opposition to the EU trademark in 2017. The EUIPO revoked McDonald's Big Mac trademark after it found that the U.S. fast-food giant was not using the trademark according to EU law, but the company plans to submit additional evidence to back up its claims. Supermac's PR manager Padraic O'Neachtain reportedly said the company remains focused on registering its brand across Europe.


* U.S. supermarket chain The Kroger Co. and U.K. online grocer Ocado Group PLC said they earmarked a site in Groveland, Lake County, Fla., as the location of their second automated fulfillment center in the U.S. The planned 375,000-square-feet facility, scheduled to be operational in 2021, is expected to create more than 400 jobs in the local area. Kroger and Ocado plan to open 20 customer fulfillment centers in the U.S. under a deal announced May 2018.

* Shareholders of Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentación SA approved private equity firm L1 Retail's proposal for a capital increase of €500 million, instead of Dia's proposed €600 million recapitalization plan. L1 Retail's capital increase plan for Dia is conditional upon the liquidation of the IPO announced by L1 Retail and the appointment of a majority of members of the board proposed by the firm. Dia said its board will continue working with L1 Retail, financial entities and their advisers to comply with the requirements of the deal.

* Russian grocery retailer X5 Retail Group NV reported 16.9% year-over-year revenue growth to 422.96 billion Russian rubles in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, driven by strong like-for-like sales and selling space expansion. The supermarket operator's net profit for the quarter came in at 6.24 billion rubles, up 15.2% from 5.42 billion rubles a year ago.


* PepsiCo Inc. India's bottling plant in the town of Kanjikode declared a lockout and stopped production from March 25 over an alleged "illegal strike by a group of workers and threat to other company employees," The Economic Times (India) reported, citing a company spokesman. A PepsiCo India spokesman reportedly said the company suspended the operations at its plant for safety reasons and will start production after the situation settles. The employees alleged that PepsiCo declared a lockout without prior notice while talks of wage revision were ongoing, the report added.

* Starbucks Corp. said it will trial the use of "greener" cups and roll out strawless lids in select markets worldwide as part of its sustainability efforts. The coffee chain will try the cups at its stores in Seattle; New York; San Francisco; London; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Starbucks will also begin using recyclable, strawless lids in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; Indianapolis; and Toronto this summer. The rest of its stores in the U.S. and Canada will roll out the strawless lids by early 2020.

* Starbucks Corp. said it will invest $100 million in Valor Management Corp., which will promote food and retail startup technology companies.

* China Resources Beer (Holdings) Co. Ltd. is set to close down more breweries after it shuttered 13 of its 91 breweries in 2018, cutting capacity by one million kiloliters to 21 million kiloliters, as it aims to increase its sales of premium beers, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The maker of the Snow beer brand also cut jobs in 2018, with the number of employees falling to about 40,000 at the end of 2018 from 52,000 in 2017. CR Beer also plans to launch at least one premium brand of beer from its own stable and four from the Heineken stable in 2019 in a bid to upgrade its product portfolio, the Nikkei added.


* Baby-formula maker China Feihe Ltd. is likely to raise up to $1 billion as the company prepares for its second attempt at a Hong Kong IPO, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The company reportedly is working with China Merchants Securities Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. on the deal, and it plans to sell shares as soon as this year. Feihe first applied for a Hong Kong listing in May 2017, the report added, citing a previous company filing. Feihe and JPMorgan representatives declined to comment, while a China Merchants Securities representative said she could not immediately comment, according to Bloomberg.


* U.S. vaping supplier Greenlane Holdings Inc. said it filed for an IPO. The company added that it has not yet determined the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering. Greenlane is seeking a listing on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol GNLN.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng declined 0.85% to 29,071.56.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.62% to 7,335.92, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.03% to 1,044.26.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook survey, the leading indicators report, the quarterly services survey, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply 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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