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Marlboro maker in takeover talks with cannabis firm Cronos

Tuesday, Dec 4, 2018

Altria, the maker of Malboro cigarettes, is in talks about a potential takeover of the Canadian cannabis producer Cronos as it seeks to diversify its business beyond traditional smokers.

Cronos shares were up more than 6% in early trading on Tuesday on New York’s Nasdaq exchange, pushing its market value to nearly $2bn (£1.6bn).

Canada legalised recreational use of marijuana this year, and the country is seen as a testing ground for marijuana companies hoping to expand globally as other countries follow suit.

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Cronos said no agreement about a transaction had been reached, adding there could be no assurance such discussions would lead to an investment or any other transaction involving the companies.

Altria, which is also the parent company of Philip Morris USA, did not respond to a request for comment.

A deal would mark one of the largest combinations between mainstream tobacco and the booming but volatile marijuana sector, which has attracted interest from a variety of large consumer companies that are monitoring the industry for disruptive threats and faster-growing product possibilities.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk Topics Country becomes largest with legal national marijuana marketplace Published: 17 Oct 2018 Prominent Brexiter refuses to back decriminalisation or legalisation of cannabis in UK Published: 31 Jul 2018 Entrepreneurs across the country are racing to capitalise on drug’s legalisation Published: 22 Jul 2018 Move prompted by numerous complaints from both residents and visitors, says mayor’s office Published: 16 Apr 2018