British American Tobacco gets shareholder backing for $49bn Reynolds takeover to create world's biggest listed tobacco company

Rebecca Smith
Shareholders gave a thumbs up to the deal today
Shareholders gave a thumbs up to the deal today (Source: Getty)

British American Tobacco (BAT) got the go-ahead from shareholders today for its $49bn (£37.6bn) takeover of Reynolds, and said it now expects the deal to be completed by next Tuesday.

The firm will pick up the remaining 57.8 per cent of shares it doesn't already own, creating the world's biggest listed tobacco company. The deal was backed by nearly all of the shareholders who voted at a special meeting today at the Hilton London Bankside, with 78.2 per cent of investors voting.

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Shareholders of both companies have approved the deal, which will also take BAT back onto the US market.

BAT’s chief executive, Nicandro Durante, said:

We are delighted with the overwhelming support we have received, both from BAT shareholders and from Reynolds shareholders.

The transaction is expected to complete on or around 25 July. We look forward to welcoming Reynolds group employees to British American Tobacco and to realising the benefits of operating these two great companies as one stronger, global tobacco and next generation products business with direct access for our products across the most attractive markets in the world.

In January, BAT announced the deal after months of talks between the two firms. BAT agreed to pay around $49.4bn.

BAT, the producer behind cigarette brands Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Benson & Hedges, first offered to buy the remainder of Reynolds, which owns Camel, in October last year.

Originally, BAT said the purchase could cost $47bn, an offer that was reportedly deemed too low - the deal was said to be off in November. However, in December it was revealed that the FTSE 100-listed cigarette firm was prepared to puff up its bid for the US group.

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