* Revlon Inc.'s largest shareholder, MacAndrews and Forbes Inc., is exploring strategic transactions for the cosmetics company. MacAndrews and Forbes said it retained an external financial adviser to help with the process. In an earlier Bloomberg News report, Goldman Sachs Inc. confirmed that it has been hired by Revlon but declined to provide more details.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. agreed to acquire NetEase Inc.'s e-commerce platform, Kaola, for $2 billion, Caixin Global reported, citing people familiar with the matter. NetEase reportedly declined to comment. An Alibaba spokesperson said the company would not comment on market rumors when asked about the acquisition.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* Lawyer Michael Avenatti asked a federal judge to dismiss the indictment that claims he tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike Inc., Reuters reported, citing a court filing. Avenatti reportedly said he is being targeted by the office of Geoffrey Berman, a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a "vindictive and selective prosecution" after he represented Stormy Daniels against President Donald Trump. A spokesman for Berman reportedly declined to comment on the matter, while The White House did not immediately respond to a comment request.
* LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE-owned cosmetics retailer Sephora launched the second phase of its inclusivity campaign, Women's Wear Daily reported, citing a company announcement. Chief People Officer Karalyn Smith reportedly said the next phase, called Color Up Close, will include a "comprehensive, long-term inclusion learning program" for employees. Sephora closed all its stores in June for diversity training after an employee called security on black singer SZA.
* Tapestry Inc. posted adjusted diluted EPS of $2.57 for fiscal 2019, down from $2.63 a year earlier and below the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus normalized EPS estimate of $2.58. Net sales rose 3% on a reported basis, or 4% at constant currency, to $6.03 billion from $5.88 billion. The company said it expects revenue for fiscal 2020 to increase at a low-single-digit rate from the previous year, while adjusted EPS is expected to be approximately flat year over year.
* Ted Baker PLC appointed department store chain Next PLC as its childrenswear license partner, replacing Debenhams PLC, which will remain a license partner for lingerie and nightwear. Under the new product license agreement, Next will develop and sell Baker childrenswear products over an initial five-year period.
* New Look Ltd. partnered with The Vegan Society to become the first apparel retailer to sell about 500 plant-based footwear and accessory items in-store and online, starting September, Retail Gazette reported.
* Shares of J. C. Penney Co. Inc. rose more than 17% in premarket trading Aug. 15 after the company reported that adjusted net loss for the second quarter of fiscal 2019 narrowed year over year to $56 million from $120 million. For the full year, J. C. Penney expects comparable sales to fall 7% to 8% and adjusted EBITDA to range between $440 million and $475 million. Separately, the company named Stacey Shively senior vice president and general merchandise manager of its home division, effective Sept. 9.
* Canadian private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group declined to extend its tender offer to acquire a 10.75% stake in Ontario-based department store chain Hudson's Bay Co. Hudson's Bay requested the extension to provide time for the special committee and its financial advisers to finish the formal valuation of Hudson's Bay shares — which is expected in September — and evaluation of other strategic initiatives.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is considering several timetables for its planned Hong Kong IPO because of the political unrest in the city-state, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Sources previously said the offer could be launched as early as the third quarter of 2019. Alibaba reportedly declined to comment on the matter.
* Amazon.com Inc. is receiving backlash from Chinese internet users for selling T-shirts on its U.S. platform that support Hong Kong protesters, Reuters reported. Amazon reportedly said it "will continue to acknowledge the longstanding and widely recognized 'one China, two systems' policy."
* Farfetch Ltd. is expected to face class-action suits from five U.S. law firms over misleading investors about its growth and profitability, The Times reported. The development reportedly comes after the online luxury retailer posted a second-quarter net loss of $89.6 million, announced a $675 million takeover by Italy's New Guards Group Holding SpA and said COO Andrew Robb is resigning. Shares of Farfetch closed at $11.25 on Aug. 15, down 2.26%.
* Walmart Inc.'s Chinese arm set a new record of 120% year-over-year sales growth during the 8.8 Omni-channel Shopping Festival of Dada-JD Daojia's online-to-offline e-commerce platform. The shopping event was created by Walmart China and JD.com Inc. in 2017, while Dada-JD Daojia was formed in 2016 after merging e-commerce platform JD Daojia and crowdsourced logistics platform Dada.
FOOD AND STAPLES RETAILING
* Walmart Inc.-owned Asda Stores Ltd. reported that like-for-like sales for the second quarter of 2019 grew 0.5%, excluding petrol, compared with a 0.3% decline in like-for-like sales in the year-ago period. Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said net sales rose 1.3% year over year, with a comparative sales growth of 0.5%, which includes the benefit of the later Easter in 2019.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* Sports Direct International PLC closed eight U.K. stores of its Jack Wills Ltd. business unit.
* Steinhoff International Holdings NV unit Pepkor Europe Ltd. is exploring a stock exchange listing or a sale of Poundland Group Ltd., a transaction that could value the variety store chain at at least €4 billion, The Times reported, citing unnamed sources. Pepkor Europe reportedly has held talks with legal advisers and will seek advice from bankers on the matter.
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The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.94% to 25,734.22, and the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.06% to 20,418.81.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.65% to 7,112.80, and the Euronext 100 was up 1.20% to 1,029.76.
On the macro front
The housing starts report, the quarterly services report, the consumer sentiment report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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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