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Weetabix ex-CEO heads Kimberly-Clark unit bid; Icahn buys stake in Dollar Tree


* Giles Turrell, former CEO of Weetabix Ltd., is leading the joint £1 billion takeover bid by PAI Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners for Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s European tissue division, Sky News reported. The group is competing against investment firm Centerbridge Partners LP, led by former Ontex Group NV CEO Michael Teacher, for the tissue business, which reportedly is expected to fetch more than £800 million. The report added that Goldman Sachs and Centerbridge declined to comment.

* Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is building a "significant" stake in U.S. discount store operator Dollar Tree Inc., the New York Post reported, citing unnamed sources. Icahn's plans for the stake are still unclear, but insiders suggest that the investor could push the company to reverse its $8.5 billion acquisition of Family Dollar Inc. in 2015 by proposing a sale or spinoff of the discount retailer, the newspaper said. Icahn reportedly declined to comment on the matter.


* Tod's SpA Chairman and CEO Diego Della Valle denied rumors that he was preparing to put the footwear company up for sale, Women's Wear Daily reported. "If we really had to do an operation, it would be to buy, not to sell," Della Valle reportedly said during a summit in Milan. The rumors rose from speculation about the reorganization of the executive's holdings in Tod's.


* Carl Icahn is "taking a look" at some of the bonds of Sears Holdings Corp., which recently filed for bankruptcy, the investor told CNBC. Icahn reportedly said "maybe some of the bonds will be interesting" but has yet to take a position on the matter.

* Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman Edward Lampert said the company needs "material progress" to prove that it still has a viable business plan and to "avoid a shutdown and liquidation," CNBC reported, citing a transcript of Lampert's speech addressing Sears employees. A spokesman for Sears did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* Target Corp. is looking to cash in on the demise of Toys R Us Inc. as it announced plans to expand and renovate toy sections across more than 500 of its U.S. stores in time for the holiday season. The Minneapolis-based retail chain said it will add almost 250,000 square feet of new space for toy departments in its stores by Nov. 2, in addition to refurbishing toy sections in more than 100 stores ahead of the holidays.

* Macy's Inc.'s virtual and augmented reality furniture shopping experience, developed in collaboration with software company Marxent Labs LLC, is now offered in approximately 70 of Macy's U.S. stores, making it the largest virtual reality rollout in retail history. The technology, which was first announced in March, will be rolled out in 20 more stores by January 2019.

* Grupo Coppel SA de CV indefinitely postponed its IPO that could have raised over $1 billion after family owners backed out of the deal, Reuters reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. One of the sources reportedly said there was a "generational divide" among the Coppel family as senior members failed to see the advantages of going public. Company representatives reportedly did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


* Inc.'s Australian arm launched its Pantry Food and Drinks category that offers a range of grocery items from more than 400 local and international brands on its online marketplace less than a year after it debuted in the country. Amazon Australia said customers will now be able to purchase over 80 million pantry items directly from brands including Campbell Soup Co.'s Arnott's Biscuits, Nestlé SA's Milo and Uncle Tobys, as well as Mars Inc.'s Masterfoods and M&M's.

* Instacart raised $600 million through a financing round led by D1 Capital Partners, valuing the online grocery delivery company at $7.6 billion. Instacart will use the capital to expand in North America, invest in marketing efforts, and hire engineering and product development staff.

* Myntra Jabong India Private Ltd. executives Gunjan Soni and Ananya Tripathi will leave the online fashion retailer by the end of 2018, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing an internal company email from CEO Ananth Narayanan. Soni, who is both Jabong's head and Myntra's chief marketing officer, reportedly will join Singaporean e-commerce firm Zalora as its CEO. Meanwhile, Tripathi, Myntra's chief strategy officer and head of categories, will become an operating partner at global investment firm KKR, the newspaper said. Myntra Jabong confirmed Soni and Tripathi's exit, the report added.

* Asos PLC's shares rose more than 13% in early market trading in London after reporting earnings for fiscal 2018 that beat analysts' expectations. For the year ended Aug. 31, the online fashion retailer posted diluted EPS of 98 pence, up 28% from 77 pence in 2017 and beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus EPS estimate of 96 pence. Group revenue rose 26% year over year in reported terms, or 24% on a constant currency basis, to £2.42 billion, while profit before tax soared 28% year over year to £102 million.


* John Lewis Partnership PLC will roll out its Private Shopping program, which will allow customers to book the whole store for exclusive after-hours use, at its Cheltenham store that will open Oct. 18. The retailer also will launch its Shopping List experience that will enable customers to book a personal shopping expert for assistance and its Get My Gifts program that will let customers book a John Lewis gift guru for their holiday shopping needs.


* Walmart Inc. still has work to do integrating Indian retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. but the Arkansas-based company would still weigh deals that expand its capabilities in India and China, President, CEO and Director Douglas McMillon said. "If something came up, we'd consider it," McMillon told analysts.


* The European Commission asked Sony Corp. rivals and users if the Japanese company's $2.3 billion acquisition of EMI Music Publishing may lead to Sony using its greater market power for better digital media deals, Reuters reported. As part of its investigation, the EU antitrust regulator reportedly also asked, in its questionnaire to respondents, if Sony will favor publishing over recording, as well as the potential impact of the transaction on online music streaming services.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 was up 1.29% 22,841.12.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.20% to 7,073.55, and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.19% to 1,006.33.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report and the EIA petroleum status 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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