Altria Group Inc said on Monday it would buy e-cigarette startup NJOY Holdings Inc for about $2.75 billion (€2.6 billion) in cash, in fresh bets by the Marlboro maker on the fast-growing market after losing billions through its investment in Juul.
The tobacco giant said it had exchanged its investment in Juul for certain of the once red-hot vaping company's heated tobacco intellectual property, at a time when it faces thousands of lawsuits and reportedly prepared to file for bankruptcy.
The value of Altria's investment in Juul slid to $250 million (€234.6 million) as of December last year from $12.8 billion it invested in 2018.
The NJOY deal will include an additional $500 million (€469.2 million) in cash payments subject to regulatory outcomes related to some NJOY products, Altria said.
Clearance From Federal Regulators
NJOY is one of the handful of vaping companies whose products have clearance from federal regulators. It makes NJOY Ace Pods - currently the only pod-based e-vapour product with market authorisations from the US Food and Drug Administration - and disposable e-cigarettes under the NJOY Daily brand.
Altria said it had multiple sources of funding for the deal, including cash from a $2.7 billion (€2.5 billion) agreement it entered with Philip Morris International Inc last year for the IQOS Tobacco Heating System.
The buyout is expected to add to Altria's adjusted per-share profit within three years of closing. The company, which did not provide a timeline for deal completion, also reaffirmed its outlook for a profit of $4.98 to $5.13 per share in 2023.
Perella Weinberg Partners LP and Morgan Stanley are the financial advisers to Altria.