A federal antitrust probe is reportedly stalling tobacco titan Altria’s US$12.8 billion tie-up with Juul more than a year after the investment was announced.
The Marlboro maker and the e-cigarette giant have delayed completing parts of their deal while the Federal Trade Commission reviews Altria’s control of store shelves, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Altria bought a 35% stake in Juul in December 2018 just about two weeks after shutting down its own e-cigarette brands. But the Virginia-based company can’t count Juul’s earnings toward its own, pick Juul board representatives or turn its nonvoting shares into voting shares until the FTC wraps up its review, according to the Journal.
The feds are reportedly focusing on Altria’s efforts to buy retail shelf space for its e-cigarettes even as it planned to close up that business and invest in Juul, the paper reported. Altria agreed to give shelf space to Juul as part of the investment deal.
Full Content: Wall Street Journal
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