* Uber Technologies Inc. said it agreed to acquire a majority stake in grocery delivery startup Cornershop, which operates in Chile, Mexico, Peru and Toronto. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is slated to close in early 2020. Following the deal closing, Cornershop will continue to operate under its current leadership, reporting to a board with majority Uber representation.
* German wholesale food retailer Metro AG said it agreed to sell its entire stake in Metro China to Wumei Technology Group Co. Ltd. The deal values Metro China at an implied total enterprise value of €1.9 billion and an enterprise-value-to-sales multiple of 0.7x based on its fiscal year 2017 to 2018 sales. Metro said it expects to receive over €1 billion in net proceeds and a 20% stake in a resulting joint venture. The transaction is expected to close by the second quarter of 2020, subject to customary government and regulatory approvals in China.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* Walmart Inc. is looking to spin off Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd.'s payment system and digital wallet unit, PhonePe Pvt. Ltd., to take direct ownership of the business, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing two people familiar with the transaction. A PhonePe spokesperson told the Economic Times that the company is "not commenting at this stage," while Walmart and Flipkart did not respond to requests for comment.
* Campbell Soup Co. said it completed the £66 million sale of its European chips subsidiary to Valeo Foods, a portfolio company of private equity firm CapVest Partners LLP. The European subsidiary included Campbell's U.K.-based Kettle Foods Ltd. unit and its Netherlands-based Yellow Chips BV business.
* Amazon.com Inc. plans to open a new fulfillment center in Channahon, Ill., that will span more than 1 million square feet and create more than 500 full-time jobs. The company did not give a timeline for the development and launch of the facility.
* Portugal's Sonae SGPS SA is set to invest up to €725 million by 2021 in its food business as it expects to open 50 to 60 Continente Bom Dia convenience stores and four to eight Continente Model supermarkets. The retailer said it will use up to €280 million of the total investment to expand its business.
* Johnnie Walker maker Diageo PLC opened a new £6.4 million innovation and research center in Scotland.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed the use of genetically modified cotton as food for humans and animals, Reuters reported. The edible cottonseed, which reportedly tastes a bit like chickpeas, was developed by Texas A&M University scientists. According to Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant biotechnologist Keerti Rathore, the university's scientists are in talks with companies to commercially launch the plant within about five years.
TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS
* British American Tobacco PLC unit Reynolds American Inc. filed a review of its Vuse Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems products with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in an effort to keep the e-cigarette products on the market. Reynolds said its application includes more than 150,000 pages of documentation highlighting evidence demonstrating that the continued marketing of Vuse products is "appropriate for the protection of the public health."
* Fitch Ratings affirmed Tyson Foods Inc.'s long-term issuer default rating at BBB and its short-term ratings at F2, with a stable outlook, citing the U.S. meat processor's significant scale and product diversification that generates considerable free cash flow against its exposure to the low-margin volatile commodity protein business.
* The Wendy's Co. said it now expects fiscal 2019 global systemwide sales growth to be at the high end of its previously announced guidance range of 3% to 4%. For 2020, the fast-food chain expects global sales of about $12 billion to $12.5 billion, while from 2021 to 2024, it expects annual sales in the range of 4% to 5%. Ahead of its third-quarter financial results announcement on Nov. 6, the company said its global sales rose 5.7% for the third quarter ended Sept. 29. Wendy's also announced a 20% hike in its quarterly dividend to 12 cents per share, payable Dec. 16.
* The U.S. and China reached a partial deal to pause elements of their ongoing trade war, delivering promised relief to a reeling U.S. agriculture sector and a delay to tariff increases slated to go into effect next week. Sitting across from Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump told reporters that the two countries have come to a "very substantial phase one deal," which includes $40 billion to $50 billion in new agriculture trade as well as provisions on intellectual property and financial services, according to pool reports.
* China's pork imports in September surged 76% year over year, while beef imports almost hit a monthly record, Reuters reported, citing data from the General Administration of Customs. Pork imports for the first eight months of the year totaled 1.33 million tonnes, up 43.6% from a year earlier, while beef imports for the first nine months jumped 53.4% to 1.13 million tonnes, the report added.
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Food in Focus: Wholesale prices continue rising faster than retail
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng advanced 0.81% to 26,521.85.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.54% to 7,208.26, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.79% to 1,085.52.
On the macro front
No notable reports 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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