The commentators get busy this morning on dissecting Whitbread’s decision to spin off Costa Coffee. Lex, in the Financial Times (£), suggests diversified UK businesses should look out – “US activists will come for you. Do not think in terms of ‘if’ but ‘when’”, it says.

Another opinion piece in the Financial Times (£) opens with a stab at a joke asking, What do the activist investors at Elliott Advisors order every morning at Costa? A: An Aericano with Ilk, a Acchiato and a Ocha Espresso. Q:Why is that? A: Well they can’t seem to pronounce their ‘M’s. They keep telling Costa owner Whitbread to Wake Up and Sell the Coffee. Or at least D-erge it.

Meanwhile, The Independent in a cynical approach to the story comments in the form of a letter to the Whitbread board from “the City”, saying “We in the City could do with the work. Second and third homes don’t pay for themselves you know!” They say they love the idea of the demerger because it will generate a lot of work and right now any work is welcome.

More than 40 UK firms have signed a new UK Plastics Pact, vowing to strip the unnecessary pollutant from their shelves by 2025. Backers include Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Marks & Spencer, Procter & Gamble UK and Unilever UK The Financial Times (£). The newspaper says it is the most ambitious business-led plan yet to fight the scourge. The pact will cover about 80% of all plastic packaging on supermarket shelves, the signatories estimate.

Critics say retailers can pick and choose in a series of pledges that have no enforcement mechanism, says The Guardian, which notes that Aldi, Morrisons and Lidl have also signed. The newspaper says the supermarkets that have signed the pledge have consistently refused to reveal how much plastic packaging they put onto the market, or commit to paying more to recycle it, in a system the report says is shrouded in secrecy.

The Independent focuses specifically on Morrisons which it says has pledged to make all its own-brand packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by the same date among a range of plans to cut back plastic use in-store. The BBC name checks Coca-Cola and Asda as two more of the signatories to the pact which WRAP is leading and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation supporting.

UK retailers will not suffer financial losses from the introduction of a plastic bottle deposit return scheme, an analysis by the Campaign to Protect Rural England of a similar system in Norway shows, reports The Guardian. MPs are scheduled to debate the subject in parliament today.

Lex, in the Financial Times (£) scrutinises Walmart’s reported interest in pouncing on Indian online retailer Flipkart, in an opportunity to give Amazon’s Jeff Bezos a poke in the eye, for whom India looks like Bezos’s last big chance in the world’s most populous region. The writer says controlling Flipkart is presumably worth almost as much to Walmart as ensuring Amazon does not control it.

Dutch government memos show the abolition of a corporate tax on dividends was “decisive” for Unilever in choosing whether to base itself in the Netherlands or Britain, reports The Times (£).

The smoke signals coming from British American Tobacco were enough to persuade investors to back its new wave of alternative vaping and heating products, says Market Report in The Times (£), which reports that the tobacco company will increase its investment in new products this year, with several launches poised for the third quarter. It said it planned to more than double revenues from such products to well over £1bn by the end of the year.

Market report in The Times (£) comments on Crawshaw Group’s widening of full-year losses to £13.5m from £1.4m. The newspaper notes that the butcher’s chain’s larger “factory shops” are faring better than the company’s high-street stores.

Dr Pepper Snapple enjoyed 5.5% revenue growth in the first quarter to $1.59bn and Lex, in the Financial Times (£), says it looks like a good omen for JAB Holdings’, owner of the Keurig coffee business, which recently bought the soft drinks company for $18.7bn in January. The Times (£), also noting that quarterly profits fell from $177m to $159m, says the new enlarged company will be called Keurig Dr Pepper. The deal is expected to complete this quarter.

The activist shareholders piling on the pressure for Costa Coffee’s demerger at Whitbread were understood yesterday to be extremely disappointed with the proposed two-year timeframe for the split The Times (£). Elliott Advisors said it wanted the demerger achieved within six months.

Westfarmers has blamed a further slump in sales at Homebase on poor UK weather, reports the Financial Times (£). Westfarmers, the Australian retail-to-industrials conglomerate that owns supermarkets and convenience stores, reported that Homebase’s sales in the quarter to the end of last month fell 13.5% to £211m year on year. Total sales fell 14.7% to £726m during the first three quarters of the year. It has appointed bankers to explore divestment opportunities for the UK division although it indicated in February that this was not the preferred option Financial Times (£)

The proposed £3.4bn merger between shopping centre giants Hammerson and Intu Property is off the table after Intu let its rival off the hook. It comes after Hammerson withdrew its recommendation to support the deal last week. Intu could have insisted that a meeting to vote on the merger go ahead under the City’s Takeover Panel rules, says The Times (£).

Group revenue at Glaxosmithkline fell 2% to £7.2bn in the first quarter, or up 4%, stripping out currency effects The Times (£).