Tobacco giant Altria Group, also noted as the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, confirmed Thursday in an official announcement that it has reached a $12.8 billion investment deal with popular e-cigarette startup Juul Labs.
Following the deal, Altria now owns 35% of Juul Labs and brings company's value to an estimated $38 billion. Altria has also clarified that Juul Labs will remain an independent company, however, it will now have access to Altria’s "infrastructure and services" as well as retail space alongside its traditional combustible cigarettes, direct marketing to cigarette customers through pack inserts and mailings of its Marlboro cigarette packages, as well as access to Altria’s sales network, which covers around 230,000 retail locations.
The e-cigarette company previously suspended most of its flavored pods in retail stores and discontinued its social media promotions, amidst the growing teenage vaping crisis in the US.
In addition, Juul believes that it cannot "fulfill its mission to provide the world's one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to cigarettes if youth use continues unabated." With the new partnership, Juul and Altria will aim to "prevent youth usage through their announced initiatives, further technological developments and increased advocacy for raising the minimum age of purchase for all tobacco products to 21."
Head on over to Altria for more details about the full story.