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McDonald's plans restructuring, layoffs; Alibaba to upgrade 100 RT-Mart stores

TOP NEWS

* McDonald's Corp. is planning layoffs and restructuring for its U.S. operations during the second quarter and will take $80 million to $90 million in associated charges, Reuters reported. McDonald's will eliminate a regional structure in favor of field offices, Reuters reported, citing a statement to McDonald's investors. The fast-food giant did not disclose how many employees would be laid off, according to the report, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said its digital transformation of Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. has extended to upgrading 100 stores of the Chinese hypermarket operator's RT-Mart chain. The move is part of Alibaba's investment in Sun Art, which operates more than 400 hypermarkets under the Auchan and RT-Mart banners. The Chinese e-commerce giant agreed to buy a 36.16% stake in the company in late 2017.

FOOD RETAIL AND DISTRIBUTION

* J Sainsbury PLC CEO Mike Coupe and Walmart Inc.-owned Asda Stores Ltd. CEO Roger Burnley will be interviewed by a British parliamentary committee June 20 regarding their proposed merger as scrutiny of the deal picks up steam, Reuters reported. Britain's competition regulator reportedly began a preliminary probe on the deal ahead of a formal investigation, while lawmakers from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said they would also examine the deal.

PACKAGED FOODS

* U.K. private equity firm BC Partners bought Forno d'Asolo SpA from investment fund 21 Partners in a deal that puts the enterprise value of the Italian frozen pastry maker at about €300 million, Reuters reported, citing a source close to the transaction. Forno is reportedly expected to report core profits of €25 million this year.

* Mars Inc. appointed Andrew Clarke as the global president of Mars Wrigley Confectionery. Clarke, who is the chief marketing and customer officer, will replace Martin Radvan in the role, the company said. He will assume his new role in September.

BEVERAGES

* Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S plans a local listing of its Indian operations as it aims to tap into burgeoning segment catering to the middle class, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the development. Any deal will add to the $3.9 billion raised through IPOs in India in 2018, up from $2.2 billion during the same period in 2017, Bloomberg added, citing its compiled data. Exact details of the deal have not been decided yet, the sources told the news outlet.

* Whitbread PLC-owned Costa Coffee rolled out a limited edition of rainbow coffee cups ahead of this year's Pride parades across the country. The limited-edition Pride cups will be available for a short time in selected stores across the UK in Edinburgh, Essex, London, Glasgow, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester and Cardiff – with Edinburgh and Chelmsford already offering them in store.

* Starbucks Corp. outlets in the cities of Chengdu and Guangzhou in China allow customers to bring their pets to the outlets, Inside Retail Hong Kong reported. The cafés reportedly feature menu items specially made for pets and will plan pet-friendly events. This move by the coffee giant aims to take an advantage of a research that shows 32% of Chinese pet owners paid more to bring their pets along to pet-friendly venues.

* British pub chain J D Wetherspoon PLC plans to promote more British and non-European drinks at its outlets from July 9, Reuters reported. The company's chairman Tim Martin, who supported Britain's exit from the European Union, said the move was aimed at making the group more competitive in the face of the country's departure from the European Union, the report added. The chain will reportedly replace Champagnes from France with sparkling wines from the U.K. and Australia and serve beer from local brewers and the U.S.

RESTAURANTS

* U.S.-based restaurant chain In-N-Out Burgers Inc. shuttered its outlets June 11 and June 12 after the company found that the buns in stock did not meet the quality standards, Business Insider reported, citing Bob Lang, In-N-Out's executive vice president. The outlets are scheduled to reopen June 13 when a new shipment will arrive, Lang told Business Insider.

* Chinese restaurant review and delivery giant Meituan-Dianping is set to file for an initial public offering of about $6 billion in Hong Kong this month, as previously projected, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the development. Meituan, which is mulling the sale of about 10% of the company shares, is targeting a valuation of roughly $60 billion, the report added.

* Restaurant Brands International Inc., through its unit Restaurant Brands Ltd., signed a master franchise agreement with Yum! Brands Inc.-owned Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia Pte. Ltd. to operate the Pizza Hut brand in New Zealand. According to a June 13 release, the agreement lets Restaurant Brands be the pizza chain's master franchisee in the country for a 10-year term. The company will handle day-to-day administration of the restaurant, including supporting existing franchisee-owned stores and developing new ones.

* U.K. online delivery service Deliveroo will add 5,000 U.K. restaurants to its delivery platform and will launch a new service, Marketplace+, in July to bring its total network to 15,000, the Financial Times (London) reported. Marketplace+ will reportedly allow restaurants with their own delivery fleets to use the company's 15,000 riders. The delivery service also plans to cover 50 new towns and cities in the U.K. to reach six million new customers this year, the report said.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng lost 1.22% to 30,725.15, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.38% to 22,966.38.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.45% to 7,738.39, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.43% to 1,066.63.

On the macro front

The MBA Mortgage Applications, PPI-FD, Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, EIA Petroleum Status, FOMC Meeting Announcement, FOMC Forecasts and Fed Chair Press Conference are due out today.

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