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Altria purchases vaping startup NJOY for $2.75B

Altria Headquarters and campus
Altria Group
The Altria Group is headquartered in Richmond.

The Richmond-based conglomerate will soon own the only pod-based vape with FDA market authorization.

One of Richmond’s biggest employers is planting a firmer step in the vaping scene. Altria Group announced Monday that it has entered a purchase agreement for NJOY Holdings Inc., an Arizona-based e-cigarette and vapor product startup.

According to a Monday press release, Altria’s approximately $2.75 billion purchase of NJOY will also give it control over the NJOY ACE, the only “pod-based” vape product with a market authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“We are excited to add NJOY’s e-vapor intellectual property as a new platform that we believe we can build on to help more adult smokers transition to smoke-free alternatives,” said Olivier Houpert, Altria’s chief innovation and product officer.

NJOY will join the Altria Group’s current holdings: Philip Morris USA, John Middleton, US Smokeless Tobacco Co. and Helix Innovations. All four companies manufacture tobacco or nicotine-based products — including cigarettes, cigars, tobacco dip, snus, dry snuff, e-cigarettes, vapor products and nicotine patches.

Altria, previously known as the Philip Morris Cos., has been increasing its smokeless tobacco offerings for years. Under its campaign Moving Beyond Smoking, the conglomerate has pledged to “[r]esponsibly lead the transition of adult smokers to a smoke-free future” by 2030.

Over the weekend, it also exchanged a 35% financial stake in the embattled JUUL Labs for control of the “heated tobacco intellectual property.” Altria previously paid $12.8 billion for the minority investment in 2018. That investment value was assessed in late 2022 at roughly $250 million.

JUUL settled a lawsuit with 33 states and territories in September over deceptive marketing practices and deliberately lackluster age verification procedures, which led to an alarming number of teenagers purchasing and becoming addicted to its nicotine products. Virginia will receive approximately $16.8 million of the $434.9 million settlement.

Dawnthea M. Price Lisco (dawn-TAY-uh, she/her) is the managing editor at VPM News.
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