business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • As expected, the United Food and Commercial Workers 9UFCW) decided over the weekend to leave the AFL-CIO, joining the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The UFCW leadership said that the decision was made because it wants to put a greater focus on organizing new companies.

    The AFL-CIO has lost about 28 percent of its membership in just a week.

  • Winn-Dixie has sold the pharmacy records from 139 of its stores for $16.5 million, part of its plan to close a total of 328 units while reorganizing the company during bankruptcy protection. The biggest buyer was CVS, which bought the records of more than 60 pharmacies for more than $6 million.

  • Thomson, the French media company, will spend $285 million to acquire PRN, the retail television network company with customers that include Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Best Buy and Costco.

  • Wendy’s International announced that it will spin off its Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut chain, selling between 15 and 18 percent of the company in an initial public offering. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Wendy's plans to reduce the percentage of company-operated Wendy's restaurants to 15% to 18% from 22%, selling stores to franchisees.”

  • Ron Floto, group CEO of Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm Holdings, tells Dow Jones in an interview that the company is “actively pursuing projects in two Asian countries we're not in - in retail - that is drugstores, convenience stores, restaurants and supermarkets. Our ideal acquisitions are bolt-on acquisitions, where we acquire companies within our current retailing model.”

    That’s a pretty diverse model. The company, Dow Jones notes, “currently operates supermarkets under the Wellcome brand in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Cold Storage brand in Singapore and Malaysia, and the Foodworld brand in India. It also runs 7-Eleven convenience stores in Hong Kong, southern China and Singapore, and Swedish home-furnishings chain IKEA in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    Floto does not name the countries or companies that he is targeting, though analysts say they believe that Thailand and Vietnam are likely countries of interest.

KC's View: