Tobacco Giant Eyes Cannabis, E-Cigarette Business As Traditional Sales Continue To Tank
The cigarette industry has for years used price increases to boost revenue and profits despite falling cigarette volumes, but that decline has sped up in recent months. Now Altria, the U.S. cigarette market leader, is looking to branch out before it goes down on a sinking ship.
The Wall Street Journal:
Slowing Cigarette Sales Push Altria To Explore Other Opportunities
Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is eyeing cannabis and e-cigarettes, searching for growth outside its traditional business, as the long decline of U.S. cigarette sales accelerates. The tobacco giant is in separate talks to make investments in Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group Inc. and in San Francisco e-cigarette startup Juul Labs Inc., according to Cronos and people familiar with the Juul matter. The two companies would give Altria access to new customers and overseas markets, but a deal with either isn’t imminent. (Maloney, 12/4)
In other health industry news —
Medtronic To Pay $51 Million To Resolve U.S. Medical Device Probes
Medtronic Plc said on Tuesday it would pay $50.9 million to resolve U.S. Justice Department probes into how companies it later acquired marketed medical devices, including one meant to treat a vascular defect in the brain. As part of the accord, ev3 Inc, which Medtronic now owns, will pay $17.9 million and plead guilty to a charge related to its marketing of a neurovascular medical device for unproven and potentially dangerous uses, federal prosecutors in Boston said. (12/4)