Cigarette maker Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) said Tuesday that it’s in discussions about the possibility of reuniting with industry leader Altria Group (NYSE: MO) in a possible blockbuster all-stock merger that would create a massive $200-billion-plus company.
Altria spun PM off more than a decade ago, and the two companies sell the same cigarette brands, with Altria in the U.S. market and Philip Morris selling them in other international markets. Among their brands: the American cigarette icon Marlboro.
Both companies have seen declining sales as tobacco use has shrunk in the United States and faced pressure from alternatives including e-cigarettes.
The breakup was a success for shareholders of both companies, but RBC Capital Markets analyst Nik Modi said in a Tuesday note to investors that the last two years “have created significant uncertainty, and the future of tobacco is a lot more dynamic than it was in 2008,” when the breakup occurred.
“Given the changing global consumption/regulatory landscape, we believe it makes strategic sense for the Marlboro, IQOS and JUUL brands to have a unified global strategy run by one company,” the analyst said.
RBC has an Outperform rating on Altria with a $68 price target.
PM said in a statement that any transaction, which isn’t a done deal, would be subject to approval of both companies’ shareholders and boards, as well as regulators.
Altria shares were down 2.44% at $45.97 at 12:49 p.m., while Philip Morris shares were falling by 4.55% to $74.19.
This story originally appeared on Benzinga.com
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