(Reuters) – Reynolds American on Tuesday won U.S. antitrust approval to buy smaller rival Lorillard in a deal that would combine the No. 2 and No. 3 U.S. cigarette companies.
The Federal Trade Commission said it would allow the acquisition to go forward on condition that the companies sell four cigarette brands – Winston, Kool, Salem and Maverick. They will be purchased by Imperial Tobacco.
Reynolds, which makes Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes, said in July 2014 it would buy Lorillard, which makes Newport, for $27.4 billion. At that time, it offered to sell the four brands to address any antitrust concern, as well as Lorillard’s Blu e-cig. Blu was not mentioned in the final agreement with the FTC, but its sale is expected to go forward.
Altria, which owns Marlboro, has a 47% U.S. market share, followed by Reynolds at 26% and Lorillard at 14%, according to 2013 data…
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