Martinne's Feed
Aug 9, 2013

Ackman’s public debate over J.C. Penney escalates

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – The public battle between J.C. Penney Co (JCP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and leading shareholder Bill Ackman escalated Friday with the hedge fund manager demanding the ouster of the retailer’s chairman as well as the interim CEO, while Starbucks (SBUX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) CEO Howard Schultz joined the fray urging the billionaire’s removal from the board.

Ackman sent an open letter to the Penney board — his second letter in as many days — publicly criticizing the board and seeking the ouster of Chairman Thomas Engibous. A day earlier he had demanded the replacement of interim chief executive Myron Ullman.

Aug 9, 2013

Ackman pushes for new chairman at J.C. Penney

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – J.C. Penney Co Inc’s (JCP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) largest shareholder, Bill Ackman, on Friday urged the company’s board to replace its chairman, Thomas Engibous, sharpening a public dispute with fellow directors and drawing a sharp rebuke from the company.

The news came a day after Ackman pushed to more quickly replace Chief Executive Myron Ullman, who was brought back in April to stem sales declines blamed on Ron Johnson, Ackman’s pick to turn around the struggling century-old department store chain.

Aug 8, 2013

Hillshire gives cautious outlook on higher costs

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – Hillshire Brands Co (HSH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) forecast earnings for its new fiscal year below Wall Street estimates as the newly independent meat company faces higher commodity costs and intense competition.

Hillshire uses a range of meats, including pork, turkey and beef to make its Hillshire Farm lunch meat, Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. It faces higher prices for sows.

Aug 7, 2013

Mondelez profit beats Street; share buyback amount raised

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – Packaged food company Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) dramatically raised its share buyback authorization and posted higher-than-expected earnings on Wednesday, weeks after being criticized by prominent activist investor Nelson Peltz.

Mondelez, which makes Cadbury chocolate, Oreo cookies and Trident gum, does not currently generate as much profit as it could, and should be acquired by PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Peltz said last month at a conference that was broadcast on CNBC cable television.

Aug 7, 2013

China fines foreign milk powder makers after price probe

SHANGHAI/NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) – China fined three
companies including Mead Johnson Nutrition Co and New
Zealand diary giant Fonterra in relation to a probe
into price fixing and anti-competitive practices by foreign baby
formula makers.

The third company penalised was Hong Kong-listed Biostime
International Holdings.

Aug 7, 2013

Mead Johnson, Biostime settle with China over baby formula probe

NEW YORK/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Mead Johnson Nutrition Co and Hong Kong-listed Biostime International Holdings said they would pay fines in relation to a Chinese probe into possible price fixing and anti-competitive practices by foreign baby formula makers.

The fines are the first to be publicly announced in the wake of the antitrust review by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and coincide with separate pricing investigations into the pharmaceutical sector as well as gold trading.

Aug 1, 2013

Kellogg trims sales view on weaker U.S. demand

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – Food company Kellogg Co (K.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) trimmed its 2013 sales forecast on Thursday, citing weaker demand in the United States and the stronger dollar.

The maker of Corn Flakes cereal, Eggo waffles and Keebler cookies stood by its full-year earnings outlook, excluding the impact of currency and one-time items, despite reporting stronger-than-expected results for the second quarter.

Jul 31, 2013

Diageo close to reclaiming tequila position – executive

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Diageo Plc (DGE.L: Quote, Profile, Research) may be close to a deal that would help it reclaim its dominant position in the global tequila market, according to a senior executive.

The world’s biggest spirits group lost its right to distribute Jose Cuervo tequila outside Mexico last month after failing to reach a deal with the brand’s owners regarding an equity stake. It is now left only with the smaller, more upscale Don Julio brand.

Jul 25, 2013

Mead Johnson keeps outlook despite lower China prices

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – Mead Johnson Nutrition Co (MJN.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), maker of Enfamil baby formula, stood by its full-year forecast on Thursday despite having to lower prices in China amid a government probe.

Its shares jumped percent 8 percent to $76.41.

Mead Johnson and rival formula makers including Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Danone SA (DANO.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Nestle SA (NESN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), have cut prices of their products in China in recent weeks due to an investigation by the government into possible price-fixing and anti-competitive behavior.

Jul 24, 2013

PepsiCo defends strategy as profit tops forecast

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on Wednesday, as sales of Frito-Lay snacks, Quaker Oats and other food products grew at a faster pace than its beverage business.

Even so, the company said it is staying with its full-year profit outlook, reaffirming an earlier forecast for 7 percent growth. It said it was taking a conservative view because of the potential impact of global volatility and possible increases in spending on advertising and research and development.