WASHINGTON – Reynolds American’s proposed $25 billion acquisition of rival Lorillard has cleared a key regulatory hurdle to move closer to completing a deal that will unite some of the nation’s top cigarette brands.
The Federal Trade Commission gave its consent Tuesday after wrapping up a 10-month review that concluded Reynolds’ previously announced divestiture plans will be enough to preserve competition in the U.S. cigarette market.
Camel cigarette maker Reynolds is creating another competitor by selling its Kool, Salem, Winston, and Maverick brands to the U.K.’s Imperial Tobacco for $7.1 billion. To get the deal done, Reynolds is also selling Lorillard’s Blu e-cigarette brand to Imperial in addition to a Greensboro, North Carolina plant.
The Lorillard acquisition will put Reynolds in a better position to challenge Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes.