WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., and LONDON – Shareholders on both sides of the Atlantic approved one of the biggest acquisition deals among tobacco companies in recent memory.
Both companies held meetings in their respective headquarter cities July 19, approving measures that would allow a subsidiary of London-based British American Tobacco (BAT) to buy the remaining 57.8% of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc. not already held by BAT. Approved by a vast majority of shareholders on both sides, the $47 billion deal is now on the fast track to closing, which the companies set for July 25.
“We are delighted with the overwhelming support we have received, both from BAT shareholders and from Reynolds shareholders,” said Nicandro Duarte, chief executive of BAT. “We look forward to welcoming Reynolds group employees to British American Tobacco and to realizing the benefits of operating these two great companies as one stronger, global tobacco and next-generation products business with direct access for our products across the most attractive markets in the world.”
Reynolds American is the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., maker of Newport, Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes; Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc., maker of Natural American Spirit products; American Snuff Co. LLC, maker of smokeless tobacco products including Grizzly and Kodiak; Niconovum USA Inc. and Niconovum AB, which market nicotine-replacement therapy products in the United States and Sweden; and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., marketer of Vuse digital vapor cigarettes.
BAT is a global tobacco group with more than 200 brands sold in more than 200 markets. Its brands include Dunhill, Lucky Strike, Kent, Pall Mall, Kool, Benson & Hedges and Rothmans.