Philip Morris International Moves Forward With Swedish Match Purchase

PMI has secured 83% of Swedish Match shares, including Elliott Management’s, which owns 10.5%.

November 08, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.— Philip Morris International (PMI) has secured 83% of Swedish Match following the completion of its offer, reports Reuters. Last month, PMI raised its offer to purchase Swedish Match by 9.4% to 161.2 billion Swedish krona (US$16.2 billion).

PMI had originally wanted 90% of Swedish Match’s shares, and the company said on Monday that level could ultimately be achieved. Ten of Swedish Match’s largest shareholders have accepted its bid, including activist hedge fund Elliott Management, which owns 10.5% of Swedish Match shares.

"Our intention is still to take the company entirely private, so it is better for the [Swedish Match] shareholders if they tender their shares," PMI Chief Executive Jacek Olczak told Reuters.

PMI extended its offer, which is now unconditional, until November 25.

Swedish Match dominates the oral nicotine category, controlling nearly half of the global market, followed by British American Tobacco PLC and Altria Group Inc. Philip Morris is eyeing additional growth in the OTP category as it moves to become a majority smoke-free business by 2025.

PMI also announced last month that it will also regain the rights to its IQOS heated-tobacco device from Altria for $2.7 billion effective April 30, 2024, and will allow Philip Morris to market IQOS in the U.S.

In December 2021, Altria and Philip Morris were ordered by the U.S. International Trade Commission to stop selling IQOS in the United States. The ruling said that the IQOS device infringes on two patents held by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed Altria to market the product as a potentially "reduced-risk" nicotine product. Philip Morris has said it plans to begin manufacturing IQOS in the U.S. next year so that it may resume selling the products in the U.S.

Both IQOS, which is sold outside the U.S., and the proposal to buy Swedish Match are part of Philip Morris’s strategy to generate more than 50% of annual net revenue from smoke-free products by 2025, up from about 30% currently.

Look out for December’s NACS Magazine cover story on how OTP sales are lighting up, but cigarettes will still burn for years to come.