BAT would have a leading position in the U.S. market with the move.
Americans may be much more in tune to the dangers of smoking, but tobacco is still a huge business in the United States, and one major merger of tobacco companies is about to go down. British American Tobacco has offered to buy Reynolds American Inc. in a $47 billion deal that would bring a number of popular cigarette brands under one umbrella, making it the biggest tobacco company in the world.
BAT would have a leading position in the U.S. market with the move. It would also have other brands at its disposal, like Camel, that it could sell in growing markets like Russia and Turkey, according to media reports. The company already owns 42 percent of Reynolds, and is offering to pay $56.50 per share. BAT wants to buy the remaining 57.8 percent of the company.
Reynolds is based in Winston-Salem, N.C., and hasn’t yet responded to the offer. The proposed moved was publicized by BAT because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires disclosure because the company has such a large holding in a U.S. company.
It could be the last big consolidation move in the worldwide tobacco industry, which is down to just six major companies right now.
Smoking rates in the United States and other western markets are on the decline due to both taxes and greater health consciousness. Big tobacco is starting to get involved in e-cigarettes and vaping products to maintain market share.
Shares of Reynolds had dipped to a one-year low of $43.38 this week after disappointing third quarter earnings.