The Hustle

Tobacco giant, Altria, inhales a 35% stake in Juul

The tobacco giant invested 12.8B into JUUL less than 2 weeks after it exhaled $2B into the Canadian weed industry.


December 21, 2018

Less than 12 days after taking a big ol’ hit off the Canadian weed bong biz, Altria announced it invested a smoking $12.8B into JUUL, the premiere cig-rig of Vapenation.

The investment represents a 35% interest in JUUL, valuing the e-cig juggernaut at $38B.

Big Cig’s trying not to get put out

With the decline of combustible cigarettes, Philip Morris’ parent company saw its stock fall nearly 25% in 2018, with an expected revenue growth of just 1%.

On the flip, JUUL has grown like the ashy tip of a cig on a windy day, becoming the fastest decacorn in history only 7 months after its first funding round (it reached a $10B+ valuation in September).

The vape stape sucked up over 60% of total e-cig sales in Q3. As of September, JUUL’s 52-week sales grew 770% representing nearly 73% of the entire category. 

It sees the writing (in tar) on the wall 

As the tobacco industry prepares for a massive shift, Altria is taking a page out of JUUL’s smoggy overcompensation handbook, masquerading as a new ambassador of the “safer” smoking method.

The headline of Altria’s press release read: “Altria Makes $12.8B Minority Investment in JUUL to Accelerate Harm Reduction and Drive Growth.” — a particularly stodgy assertion considering that cigarettes kill close to 480k Americans a year.

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