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Leading Brands Inc latest news:
Moody's says it may downgrade McCormick by three notches after food deal
Moody's Investors Service placed McCormick & Co. Inc.'s A2 rating on review for a possible three-notch downgrade Wednesday, after the company unveiled plans to acquire Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc.'s food division for $4.2 billion. If the deal closes as currently outlined, it will involve a significant amount of debt that will raise McCormick's leverage and send its debt/EBITDA ratio to about 5.4 times, said the rating agency. McCormick would actually use $3.7 billion of debt to fund the deal and it would take it several years to come back to its pre-deal credit profile. "McCormick is acquiring iconic, market leading brands with higher profitability than its existing business, but is tripling its debt to do so" said Dominick D'Ascoli, Vice President - Senior Analyst at Moody's. "This significant increase in financial leverage overshadows the benefits of the acquisition and results in a credit profile that is no longer consistent with its prior rating." McCormick shares slid 5.2% on the news. The S&P 500 was up 0.4%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Ulta Beauty shares rise after Goldman upgrade
Ulta Beauty Inc. shares are up 3% in Friday premarket trading after the company was upgraded to buy from neutral at Goldman Sachs. The price target was cut to $310 from $321. Analysts say they're "positive" after a recent sell-off and same-store sales growth that they call "sector-leading." Moreover, Goldman thinks the company won't be impacted by Amazon.com Inc. "We do not believe price competition will derail Ulta's core value proposition, or that Amazon yet offers a compelling alternative to the consumer," the note said. With a focus on convenient locations, an assortment that mixes mass and prestige items, and service rather than price, Goldman analysts "expect continued share gains, reflecting incremental sales captured from department stores, upside from the rollout of new brands and boutiques, and growth in Ulta's membership program, also a powerful source of valuable data." Ulta shares are up 1% for the year so far, while the S&P 500 index is up 9.3% for the period.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
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