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Tata eyes stake in Walmart's India business; JD.com taps banks for logistics IPO

TOP NEWS

* Tata Group is in talks with Walmart Inc. to acquire 49% of the U.S. retailer's cash-and-carry business in India, The Economic Times reported, citing multiple sources aware of the development. The deal would reportedly enable the U.S.-based retailer to expand its Best Price Modern Wholesale brand across India.

* JD.com Inc.'s logistics unit is in talks with banks for a potential overseas IPO that could raise $8 billion to $10 billion, with a target valuation of at least $30 billion, Reuters reported, citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter. JD Logistics expects to select the banks for the IPO in the second quarter of 2020. The company will use the funds for warehouse expansion and potential acquisitions.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Debenhams PLC is seeking additional rent reductions of up to 25% for about 20 of its stores in exchange for scrapping break clauses in the leases, The Sunday Times reported. The department store, which engaged property agencies CWM and Time Retail as it goes through its voluntary arrangement, raised a new £50 million facility in October from existing lenders.

E-COMMERCE

* Booking.com BV told the European Commission that it will change the way it presents offers, including time-limits for making bookings, discounts and prices to comply with EU law.

* Indian eyewear retailer Lenskart Solutions Pvt. Ltd. raised about 16.45 billion rupees in a series G funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp.. The company expects to raise a total of 19.56 billion rupees in the round.

HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* Shiseido Company Ltd. will open its first domestic factory in 36 years in Otwara, Japan, on Dec. 25, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The new plant will produce mid-priced to high-end skin care products.

FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING

* Tesco PLC halted production at a Chinese factory after a customer came across a message in the food retailer's charity Christmas cards that forced labor was used for its packaging, the Financial Times reported. "We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organization," the handwritten note said. Tesco launched an investigation into the matter and pulled the cards from sale. "We abhor the use of prison labor and would never allow it in our supply chain," Tesco said, adding that the supplier was independently audited in the last month.

HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL

* Toshiba Corp. extended the period of its tender offer for semiconductor business NuFlare Technology Inc., previously set for Dec. 25, until Jan. 16, 2020, as NuFlare wants to give shareholders more time to consider following a counter offer by HOYA Corp., the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

* U.K.-based specialty store chain WH Smith PLC completed the previously announced acquisition of The Marshall Retail Group LLC from Brentwood Associates Inc.

HOTELS, RESORTS AND CRUISE LINES

* UNIZO Holdings Company Ltd.'s employees, backed by private equity firm Lone Star Group, offered to buy the Japanese hotel chain operator for ¥174.4 billion, Bloomberg News reported. The board-recommended ¥5,100-per-share takeover proposal is above Unizo's current market value and other bids submitted by The Blackstone Group Inc. and Fortress Investment Group LLC, the news agency reported, citing a statement from the target company.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.13% to 27,906.41, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.02% to 23,821.11.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.46% to 7,617.20, and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.07% to 1,153.34.

On the macro front

The durable goods orders report, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index and the new home sales 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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