Juul in deal talks With Three Tobacco firms

As the creator of e-cigarettes looks for a potential sale, investment, or collaboration, Juul Labs Inc. is in preliminary discussions with three major tobacco companies, according to people who know the situation.Executives from Juul have reportedly held separate conversations with Philip Morris International Inc. in recent weeks, according to the people. According to the sources, no agreement is close, and a partnership or sale may not come from the current talks. Juul was valued at $1 billion by Altria, which holds a 35% share in the vaping startup, in October.

In a fight with federal regulators over whether its products could continue to be marketed on the U.S. market, Juul, which accounts for 27% of e-cigarettes sold in U.S. stores tracked by Nielsen, came dangerously close to filing for bankruptcy last year.

After increasing during pandemic lockdowns, cigarette sales in the US have since started to decline. Menthol cigarettes are already prohibited in California, and the Biden administration is working to have them outlawed nationwide. The United States is likewise progressing toward removing almost all nicotine from cigarettes.

Juul in Deal Talks With Three Tobacco Giants - WSJ

Federal regulators are reshaping the industry and selecting which competitors can continue in business while others must leave, and big tobacco corporations are vying for a position to take a slice of the American e-cigarette market. To keep e-cigarettes on the market, the Food and Drug Administration gave producers a grace period of many years before their products had to be reviewed.

Juul earlier paid $1.7 billion in legal settlement

By the 2020 deadline, millions of goods had been submitted. The agency is still evaluating those products. The FDA has so far rejected the majority of them. It has approved various electronic cigarettes with tobacco flavors produced by Japan Tobacco, NJOY Holdings Inc., and Reynolds American Inc.
The FDA denied Juul’s application in June, and the business was told to stop selling its products there. Later, the organization put the order on hold while Juul appealed. The ongoing litigation was challenging for Juul to raise capital to pay its legal liabilities.

Juul agreed to pay $1.7 billion in a comprehensive legal settlement involving more than 5,000 cases in December. The e-cigarette manufacturer was charged with promoting its goods to kids and teenagers in many lawsuits. Juul claims it never targeted teenagers and has been attempting to earn back the public’s and regulators’ trust.

Equity investment was obtained to cover settlement

According to The Wall Street Journal, Juul obtained an equity investment to cover the settlement costs from a consortium that included two of its directors. Juul was given more stability thanks to the agreement and cash, which made it possible for the business to start discussions with potential allies.
As Juul prepared for a prospective bankruptcy filing, late-stage talks with Altria on a deal to sell Juul’s foreign business or license its U.S. intellectual property broke down, according to people familiar with the discussions, in September. These discussions have yet to be publicized.

These sources claimed that Juul had also picked up the phone to Altria. Due to antitrust issues, Altria cannot acquire Juul outright: The Federal Trade Commission is attempting to reverse Altria’s 2018 investment in Juul in a litigation now in progress. Altria and Japan Tobacco partnered in October to create and market heated tobacco products in the United States and other novel tobacco products abroad.