Philip Morris International Inc.
plans to raise its offer for
AB and has agreed to pay $2.7 billion to regain the U.S. rights for its IQOS heated tobacco products from
Group Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
Philip Morris’s original offer for Swedish Match in May was 161.2 billion Swedish Krona, which was then equivalent to $16 billion. The new offer is expected to be announced as soon as Thursday, the people said.
The move is made easier by the strength of the U.S. dollar against the Swedish currency since the deal was struck. The Marlboro maker has been under pressure from Elliott Management Corp. and other investors to sweeten the bid.
Philip Morris has separately struck a deal with Altria to buy back the U.S. commercialization rights for IQOS, Philip Morris’s heated tobacco device, some of the people said. That would free up Philip Morris to market IQOS in the U.S. through the Swedish Match sales force if the Swedish Match deal closes. Philip Morris could also sell IQOS in the U.S. on its own. The deal includes an upfront $1 billion payment with the rest paid over time, these people said.
Altria introduced IQOS in the U.S. in 2019 and sold it in a handful of states until last year, when it had to stop importing IQOS as the result of a patent dispute. Philip Morris has said it plans to begin manufacturing IQOS in the U.S. next year so that it may resume selling the product in the U.S.
(More to come.)
Write to Jennifer Maloney at [email protected] and Ben Dummett at [email protected]
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