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Kraft Heinz, Mondelez lead Campbell unit bid; Pepsi North America CEO to retire

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Kraft Heinz, Mondelez lead Campbell unit bid; Pepsi North America CEO to retire

TOP NEWS

* The Kraft Heinz Co. and Mondelez International Inc. have qualified to participate in the second round of Campbell Soup Co.'s auction of its international business, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the development. The soup maker is likely to fetch about $3 billion for its international business, based on the first-round bids, the sources added. Campbell Soup is likely to wrap up the auction in the first quarter of 2019, unnamed sources told the news agency.

* PepsiCo Inc. said its CEO for North America, Albert Carey, will retire at the end of March 2019 after 38 years with the company. Vivek Sankaran, president and COO of Frito-Lay North America, and Kirk Tanner, president and COO of North America Beverages, will become CEO of their respective divisions.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* German food retailer Kaufland Stiftung & Co. KG said its stores will stop carrying Unilever products including Knorr, Lipton, Ben & Jerry's and Magnum, in response to the consumer goods company's price increases. In an emailed statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Kaufland said it had been negotiating with Unilever since May but its solutions were rejected. A spokesperson for Unilever, whose listed entities are Unilever PLC and Unilever NV, said it would not comment as its customer relationships are confidential.

* U.K. food retailer Tesco PLC is relaxing its strict guidelines regarding the size and shape of potatoes and has already taken delivery of some 4,000 tons of spuds that it would normally reject, The Guardian reported. The supermarket giant's move comes as a part of its strategy to reduce food waste following Britain's worst growing conditions in 40 years. Rob Hooper, Tesco's potato expert said, "although some potatoes might be smaller and larger, they still pack the same great taste our customers expect."

BEVERAGES

* The EU cleared the sale of restaurant operator Whitbread PLC coffee shop chain Costa Ltd. to Coca-Cola Co. The companies which received clearance from China's State Administration for Market Regulation in November, expect to close the deal in January 2019. Whitbread expects to receive the full proceeds of £3.9 billion in cash following the deal's closure.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Campbell Soup said the newly appointed CEO Mark Clouse, could be paid as much as $7.4 million in compensation for fiscal 2019. In a filing, Campbell said Clouse's pay packet included a base salary of $1 million and a potential bonus of $1.4 million. On Jan. 22, when he starts working at Campbell, Clouse will also get a long-term incentive award of $5 million.

* Nestlé SA revived early stage discussions to buy a majority stake in the Canadian company Champion Petfoods, which it planned to buy earlier this year before the talks halted, the Financial Times reported, citing people close to the situation. The people also warned that there was no guarantee whether a deal could be reached, and it is also vague if Champion's backers want to pursue a sale. Both Nestlé and Champion declined to comment on the deal talks, the report said.

* U.S.-headquartered packaged food retailer Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. acquired Australian frozen potato processor Marvel Packers Pty Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. According to the release, the deal provides the company with an opportunity to increase its presence in Australia's 1.1 billion pound market with in-country production, noted Lamb Weston President and CEO Tom Werner. With the acquisition, Lamb Weston owns and operates 16 processing facilities worldwide and an additional nine facilities in conjunction with its joint venture partners.

* More than 200 people from across the U.S. have fallen ill, 84 of them hospitalized, and one in California reported dead from an ongoing salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notice, prompting a second recall. Illnesses occurred in this outbreak from Nov. 20, 2017, to Dec. 6, 2018, due to a common strain of salmonella identified in various raw turkey products. The Public Health Agency of Canada also identified ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of salmonella, however, no single supplier has been identified.

RESTAURANTS

* U.S. private equity company KKR & Co. launched a €431.7 million takeover offer for Spain's Telepizza Group SAU after buying about a quarter of the fast-food restaurant chain's shares, Reuters reported. KKR plans to de-list the company after the €6-per-share buyout, reportedly. KKR's move comes days before Telepizza formally enters into an alliance with Yum Brands' Pizza Hut.

* YUM! Brands Inc. Indian unit Yum Restaurants promoted Pizza Hut India head Unnat Varma as the managing director for the pizza chain's Asia Pacific operations, The Economic Times (India) reported. Varma will oversee 5,500 restaurants spread across 17 countries starting January 2019 and will operate from Pizza Hut's Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng decreased 0.40% to 25,651.38, while the Nikkei 225 decreased 1.11% to 20,166.19.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 decreased 0.60% to 6,680.60, and the Euronext 100 decreased 1.08% to 899.85.

On the macro front

The Chicago Fed national activity index is due out today.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 8 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

Editor's note: The Daily Dose will not be published Dec. 25 and will return Dec. 26.