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Imperial Brands investors demand change; Coca-Cola, Coffee Day may restart talks


* Four top 30 shareholders of U.K.-based Imperial Brands PLC are pushing for leadership changes as well as divesting some of the company's tobacco brands, the Financial Times (London) reported. The tobacco company, due to replace Chairman Mark Williamson, reportedly said its cigar business had attracted "significant interest" and is likely to announce its sale in the next 12 weeks.

* Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd. may resume talks with Coca-Cola Co. to off-load a significant stake in its Café Coffee Day chain in a bid to cut the group's debt, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. A Coca-Cola spokesperson declined to comment. Coffee Day Enterprises did not respond to requests for comment, the report added.


* Inc.'s online grocery and delivery joint venture Dada-JD Daojia, which is 10% owned by Walmart Inc., is in early talks with bankers to raise $500 million in its planned U.S. IPO in May 2020, The Information reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The Chinese e-commerce company declined to comment, while the U.S. retailer did not immediately respond to requests for comment, the report added.

* Target Corp. unveiled its largest owned food and beverage brand, dubbed Good & Gather. It will be available in stores and online beginning Sept. 15. By the end of 2020, the brand will offer more than 2,000 products, including dairy, produce, granola bars and ready-made pasta.

* J Sainsbury PLC has denied reports that it is talking to internal candidates about replacing CEO Mike Coupe. It added that the executive has the full support of the grocer's board and shareholders, a Sainsbury's spokesperson told Reuters.

* Australian supermarket operator Woolworths Group Ltd. said it will launch Discovery Garden, which provides shoppers free plants to grow their own fresh food, in September.

* Majestic Wine & Spirits USA LLC former retail chief John Colley is rejoining the wine retailer after it sold its stores for £95 million earlier this month to a unit of American investment firm Fortress Investment Group, The Sunday Times reported. Colley left Majestic Wine in 2017. He has resigned from his role as chief trading officer at Kingfisher PLC.

* Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG's Irish business reminded British suppliers that the discount retailer expects them to shoulder EU import tariffs imposed on goods crossing borders in case of a no-deal Brexit, BBC News reported. The company reportedly said it is "communicating proactively" and working together with suppliers "to resolve any potential barriers to supply."


* One of Diageo PLC's biggest Scottish unions said its members are planning to go on strike at three of the company's sites from September to November after wage increase talks fell through, Reuters reported. A spokesperson for the Johnnie Walker owner told the news outlet that contingency plans are in place in case of industrial action, adding that it remained committed to seeking a resolution.

* China Resources Beer (Holdings) Co. Ltd. said it is exploring the possibility of acquiring a minority stake in Budweiser Brewing Co. APAC Ltd., the Asian unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, the South China Morning Post reported, citing executive director and CEO Hou Xiaohai's response to a reporter. "We're paying close attention to this issue and evaluating its business, but we have yet to decide whether we are interested and if [the acquisition] will fit into the expansion plans for China Resources Beer," Hou added.


* Agricultural company Ros Agro PLC posted sales of 73.55 billion Russian rubles in the first half ended June 30, up from 32.82 billion rubles a year ago. The company's net profit for the first half increased year over year to 3.34 billion rubles from 2.34 billion rubles.


* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is investigating a "cluster" of lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use after 94 cases of severe lung disease associated with vaping were reported in 14 states from June 28. The agency said more information is needed to determine the cause of the illnesses.


* Plant-based egg alternative Just Egg will be rolled out in 2,100 Kroger Co.-owned stores across the U.S. starting August, USA Today reported.

* Hershey Co. made minority investments in snacking businesses Fulfil Holdings Ltd. and Blue Stripes LLC. Fulfil makes protein nutrition bars in the U.K. and Ireland, while Blue Stripes owns the Blue Stripes Cacao Shop.


* Kentucky-based restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse Inc. said its board declared a cash dividend of 30 cents per share of common stock, payable Sept. 27.


* Senior civil servants have warned that U.K. businesses are not ready for a no-deal Brexit, and the nation may experience shortages of fuel, food and medicine in such a situation, according to a government report marked as sensitive but obtained by The Sunday Times. When contacted by news outlets, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said it does not comment on leaked documents, Reuters reported. The cabinet minister in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, Michael Gove, said the report was an old one and that preparations for a no-deal scenario had advanced since it was published.

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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 grew 2.17% to 26,291.84, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.71% to 20,563.16.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 1% to 7,188.07, and Euronext 100 had climbed 1.11% to 1,042.75.

On the macro front

The E-Commerce Retail Sales report is 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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