LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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KKR to Buy Unilever's Spreads Business for $8 Billion -- Update

U.S. private equity giant KKR & Co. agreed Friday to acquire Unilever PLC's margarine and spreads business in a deal that values the unit at EUR6.83 billion ($8.03 billion), making it one of the largest European acquisitions by a buyout firm this year.

The Anglo-Dutch conglomerate in April first announced plans to sell the 145-year-old business as part of a broader effort to boost shareholder returns after rebuffing a $143 billion takeover offer from Kraft Heinz Co. in February. Unilever, which sells products ranging from Dove Soap to Lipton tea, is acquiring faster growing consumer brands, cutting costs, buying back shares and increasing dividends to help appease investors.


Danone Board Proposes Michel Landel as Lead Independent Director

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Danone SA (BN.FR) said late Thursday that its board of directors has proposed the appointment of Sodexo SA (SW.FR) chief executive Michel Landel as lead independent director as from April 26, 2018.

The French company said it will request shareholder approval for the appointment of Mr. Landel as a board member at its next shareholders meeting.

Campbell Soup In 'advanced Talks' To Buy Snyder's-Lance: Report -- MarketWatch

Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) is in "advanced talks" to buy snack maker Snyder's-Lance Inc. (LNCE), CNBC reported late Friday, citing sources familiar with the potential deal. The acquisition could be announced as early as next week and would be Campbell's largest, the report said. The deal could be delayed or fall apart, the sources said. It would value Snyder's at about $50 a share, according to the report. Shares of Campbell Soup were flat in late trading Friday after gaining 2% at the end of the trading day, while Snyder's-Lance shares rose 5% after finishing the regular session up 5.3%.

Oil Prices Edge Up Amid Pipeline Outage

U.S. oil prices rose and the global benchmark fell Friday, as prices were supported by a pipeline outage in the North Sea, but higher forecasts for U.S. output in 2018 from major energy groups this week limited gains.

U.S. crude futures rose 26 cents, or 0.46%, to $57.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 8 cents, or 0.13%, to $63.23 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.


Cattle Futures Rally on Cash Strength

Cattle futures ended the week with a bounce on higher-than-expected physical cattle prices.

December-dated live cattle contracts rose 2.3% to $1.189 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the highest close this month. Contracts for feeder cattle, which need to be fattened before slaughter, also rose.

Cash prices last week averaged $117.50 live and $187 dressed nationally, and analysts had expected prices to fall further this week as packers eased off buying. But packers may have needed more livestock than expected, they said, helping to halt further losses.

Hog futures also rose. CME December lean hog contracts rose 1.3% to 68.525 cents a pound, with the late rally in the cattle market helping to carry prices higher.


Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Dec 15

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations


Dec 15 +$38.46 +$35.02

Dec 14 +$37.56 +$33.98

Dec 13 +$35.91 +$33.23

* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production.

A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of production of the animals.


This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite

values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices.


For Today Choice 105.8

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 103.9

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose 83 cents per hundred pounds, to $201.87, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 44 cents per hundred pounds, to $183.25. The total load count was 121. Wholesale pork prices rose 48 cents, to $76.69 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 15, 2017 17:49 ET (22:49 GMT)