Altria is in discussion to take a major minority stake in Juul, an e-cigarette company, The Wall Street Journal reported recently. Any deal is expected in a few weeks, Juul’s last valuation was $16 Billion in a confidential fundraising round this summer.
A joint venture between the two companies can give Juul the skill that Altria has earned through decades of litigation and regulation while causing Altria a push in revenue. However, a contract would mark a noteworthy shift for Juul, which has frequently distanced itself from large tobacco companies such as Altria. Altria stated that it does not comment on “speculations and rumors.” Juul’s fame has increased over the past year. That attention has contributed to the regulatory investigation. The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Commissioner—Scott Gottlieb—has warned to pull e-cigarettes from the market if the agency’s recent restrictions on the fruity flavors sale do not reduce in teen use. In the meantime, cigarette sales have lowered as there is a huge reduction in smoking of cigarette in younger and older people. In the last year, cigarette smoking in the U.S. decreased to its lowest point in its history, according to information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Altria sells its own e-cigarettes like Green Smoke and MarkTen, though they make up only a part of its $25.6 Billion in revenue.
Lately, Juul was also in news for suing Chicago-based companies for supposedly selling “copycat” e-cigarette cartridges. Leading e-cigarette manufacturer Juul has filed patent violation lawsuits against many Chicago-area companies for allegedly producing, importing, and selling low-cost copycat cartridges. The Juul-compatible products are being oversupplied in the market with “flavors intended at juvenile users,” like Strawberry Milk and Berry Lemonade, according to the lawsuits.
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