The rumor had been spreading over the last few weeks about the purchase of cigarette manufacturer Reynods American by British American Tobacco (BAT). The deal has been closed, or at least should be shortly since the green light was given by the shareholders of both tobacco giants. BAT was already the owner of 42.4% of Reynolds’ capital and purchased the remaining 57.8% for 49.4 billion dollars. This operation was paid partially in cash (24.4 billion dollars) and partially in actions (25 billion actions). This means that Reynolds’ owners will receive 29.44 dollars and 0.5620 BAT share.
In the tobacco industry, this acquisition is the most important after the purchase of Lorillard by Reynolds in 2016 for 27 billion dollars. Thanks to this operation, BAT, with the Lucky Strike, Kent or Rothmans brands will become the #1 tobacco company in the US and the third largest tobacco manufacturer worldwide just behind China National Tobacco Corporation and Philip Morris International, the distributor of L&M, Chesterfield and Marlboro out of the US.
This mergers & acquisitions project between BAT and Reynolds which has recently been validated is not totally new. Actually, on October 20, 2016, the closing of the Reynolds action took place enabling BAT to offer a friendly takeover bid. The purchasing plan was announced in January with most particularly the possibility of a double operation, both in cash and in actions. A few weeks were then necessary for the American authorities to validate the acquisition – they had until March 8, 2017 to oppose the purchase – as well as for the Japanese authorities to validate the purchasing conditions. According to a BAT press release, the operation should take place around July 25th.
BAT will become a leading actor in the vaping market
Thanks to this acquisition, BAT will not only confirm its position of tobacco giant, it will also confirm its leading role in the vaping industry. The British company which sells the electronic cigarette Vype in the UK and in France is going to sell also the vaping device named Vuse, which was until now owned by Renolds American.