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Safeway shareholders approve merger with Albertsons

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway shareholders on Friday approved the proposed merger with Albertsons with 70% of the outstanding shares and 96% of the shares voting for the merger. 
 
Two other merger-related proposals were also approved at the company's annual meeting, including a non-binding advisory proposal to approve the merger-related compensation for the named executive officers (96% in favor) and the adjournment of the annual meeting, if necessary or appropriate, to solicit additional proxies if there are insufficient votes at the time of the annual meeting to approve and adopt the merger agreement (90% in favor).
 
Stockholders elected each of the nine directors by a vote percentage of at least 87% and approved the appointment of Deloitte & Touche to serve as the company's independent registered accounting firm for the 2014 fiscal year.
 
In March, Safeway and Albertsons announced a definitive agreement under which AB Acquisition will acquire all outstanding shares of Safeway in a deal valued at more than $9.1 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

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Reuters: Pharmacies in Europe gaining market share in beauty

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Pharmacies in Europe are reportedly stealing market share from beauty retailers like Sephora as they increasingly stock their shelves with natural and organic cosmetic brands, and consumers look to curb spending on higher-priced products, according to a Reuters report.

"Pharmacies are the No. 1 retail network attacking specialist beauty retailers and taking revenue away from them, particularly in skin care," Stephanie Poupineau, account manager at Kantar Worldpanel, was quoted as saying in the article.

Citing Kantar Worldpanel data, Reuters reported that beauty retailers like Sephora and Marionnaud in France have seen their share of the cosmetics retail market drop to 35% from 40% over the past three years. Meanwhile, pharmacies’ have enjoyed a 3-percentage point boost in market share to 18%.

According to Reuters, analysts believe that even if Sephora faced an uphill battle in western Europe, the retailer would still enjoy strong growth in the United States and emerging markets, as well as through its online efforts.
 

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Reckitt Benckiser to spin off pharma business over next 12 months

BY Michael Johnsen

SLOUGH, England — Reckitt Benckiser on Monday announced the company will be looking to spin off its pharma business in the next 12 months. 
 
"We believe that RB Pharmaceuticals has the potential to deliver significant long term value creation as a stand-alone business. We have therefore decided to pursue a demerger of RB Pharmaceuticals with a separate U.K. listing," stated Rakesh Kapoor, RB CEO. "We expect this to take place over the next 12 months. This will also allow RB to focus on its core strategy to be a global leader in consumer health and hygiene."
 
"Our focus and investment behind consumer health continues to deliver profitable growth, and our hygiene category is improved after a slow start. … It is early days but we have made good progress on integrating our recent K-Y acquisition," he noted. 
 
 

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