Philip Morris, the maker of the world’s most popular cigarette brand Malboro, has sealed its £1bn takeover of asthma inhaler maker Vectura with a bumper share purchase.
In August, the Vectura Directors supported a takeover bid from Philip Morris International to purchase Vectura at a price of 165 pence per share after a fierce bidding war. Today, Philip Morris has announced the additional purchase of shares from the company’s investors, upping its total stake to 74.7 per cent, well above the 50 per cent needed to complete the deal.
Commenting on the Offer, Jacek Olczak, PMI’s Chief Executive Officer said the company had reached “an important milestone” in its acquisition by becoming the “unconditional” and “majority shareholder.”
“We are very excited about the critical role Vectura will play in our Beyond Nicotine strategy and look forward to working with Vectura’s scientists and providing them with the resources and expertise to grow their business to help us achieve our goal of generating at least $1 billion in net revenues from Beyond Nicotine products by 2025,” he added.
As part of today’s announcement Philip Morris encouraged the remaining shareholders to accept its offer which will remain in place until the end of the month.
The sale has caused controversy in the health industry with an open letter signed by 35 health charities, public health experts and doctors from around the world urging Vectura shareholders to reject the purchase offer last month.
This morning, Sarah Woolnough, the chief executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation commented on the sale, saying that Vectura has “sold out millions of people living with lung disease.” Woolnough previously stated that the deal would create perverse incentives for Philip Morris to sell additional cigarettes in order to profit from asthma treatments.
Philip Morris has stated its committed to a smoke free future and has upped revenue from quit-smoking products to 28 per cent.