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Constellation may sell wine brands; Kraft Heinz gets Nasdaq noncompliance notice

TOP NEWS

* Constellation Brands Inc. is in late-stage talks to sell its cheaper brands of wine to California-based wine producer E. & J. Gallo Winery Inc., CNBC reported, citing people familiar with the situation. According to the report, Constellation earlier expected the sale of its low-priced brands, which includes Clos du Bois, Mark West and Arbor Mist, to fetch about $3 billion, but one of the sources told the newswire that the range could sell for only about $2 billion or less. Discussions are reportedly ongoing but could still fall apart. Constellation and Gallo declined to comment on the matter, the newswire added.

* The Kraft Heinz Co. said it expects to file its annual report "in the coming weeks" after it received a standard noncompliance notice from Nasdaq for failing to timely file the Form 10-K report for the year ended Dec. 29, 2018. The Pittsburgh-based packaged food and beverage producer said it has until May 14 to submit a plan to regain compliance. If approved by Nasdaq, the plan will fetch the company up to 180 calendar days from the Form 10-K's due date to regain compliance.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV said its Romanian supermarket chain Mega Image SRL has agreed to acquire Zanfir SNC, which owns and operates supermarkets in eastern Romania. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Ahold Delhaize said the deal has already been approved by the Romanian Competition Council.

* Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu's newly appointed CEO Lionel Desclee refuted media reports suggesting that the business was up for sale, Reuters reported. Desclee reportedly added he was too new in the job to discuss strategy related to the Walmart Inc.-owned unit, but the executive said, "I'm not here to sell a business."

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

* Food processing company Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said it agreed to acquire the Ziegler Group, European provider of citrus flavor ingredients, for an undisclosed sum. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

PACKAGED FOODS

* KKR & Co. and CVC Capital Partners Ltd. are among private equity firms considering buying the animal-health unit of Bayer AG, pushing the German conglomerate to go through the planned sale, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter. The business could sell for as much as €8 billion, although valuations could change once the auction begins, expected in the second quarter, the sources added. A Bayer representative did not give details on the matter, but the company said it will provide information on its plans for the target unit in its earnings report in April, Bloomberg noted.

* A consortium of funds managed or advised by PAI Partners is in talks with Koninklijke Wessanen NV to buy all issued and outstanding shares of the Amsterdam-based organic food company for €11.50 apiece cum dividend in cash. The private equity firm is also joined by entities indirectly controlled by Wessanen shareholder Charlie Jobson and/or his family members in the potential deal. The parties are under a due diligence process and are exploring the terms of a merger protocol, and it is not definite whether a deal will result.

* Norwegian conglomerate Orkla ASA said its president and CEO Peter Ruzicka decided to resign from the company. Ruzicka will remain with the company until May 7, when Orkla plans to present its first-quarter results. The company said it will begin to look for his replacement immediately. Meanwhile, Terje Andersen will serve as acting president and CEO of the company.

* A Delaware judge rejected the plea of Brazilian meat processor JBS SA and its U.S.-based subsidiary Pilgrim's Pride Corp. to dismiss a complaint regarding a shareholder lawsuit challenging the 2017 acquisition of Moy Park Ltd. by Pilgrim's Pride, Reuters reported. U.K. poultry producer Moy Park was a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS before the $1.3 billion acquisition. Minority Pilgrim's shareholders reportedly alleged that the company was forced by JBS to acquire Moy Park in unfavorable conditions. There is no date set yet for the trial, and JBS did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

RESTAURANTS

* Restaurant Brands International Inc.-owned Burger King said it rolled out a coffee subscription that costs $5 per month. The deal, which can be redeemed by downloading and signing up to the fast-food chain's mobile app, offers subscribers a cup of coffee every day.

* Italy's Gruppo Illy Spa has agreed to buy U.K. chocolate-truffle maker Prestat for an undisclosed amount, the Financial Times reported. With this deal, Illy will have better distribution access through Prestat's sales network in the U.K., the U.S. and Australia, the Times added. Gruppo Illy President Riccardo Illy reportedly said the company is also interested in a cakes and biscuits business acquisition.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng rose 1.37% to 29,409.01, while the Nikkei 225 gained 0.62% to 21,584.50.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.59% to 7,271.06, and the Euronext 100 lifted 0.10% to 1,048.25.

On the macro front

The Housing Market Index 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.

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.