Philip Morris, the maker of the world’s most popular cigarette brand Malboro, has sealed its £ 1bn takeover of asthma inhaler maker Vectura with an exceptional share purchase.
In August, the directors of Vectura backed a takeover bid by Philip Morris International to buy Vectura at a price of 165 pence per share after a fierce bidding war. Today, Philip Morris announced the additional purchase of shares from investors in the company, bringing his total stake to 74.7%, well above the 50% needed to close the deal.
Commenting on the Offer, Jacek Olczak, CEO of PMI, said the company had taken “a significant step forward” in its acquisition by becoming “the majority shareholder” and “unconditional”.
“We are very excited about the critical role Vectura will play in our Beyond Nicotine strategy and we look forward to working with the scientists at Vectura and providing them with the resources and expertise to grow their business in order to bring us help 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 his offer which will remain in place until the end of the month.
The sale sparked controversy in the healthcare industry with an open letter signed by 35 healthcare charities, public health experts and doctors around the world urging Vectura shareholders to reject the offer to purchase on last month.
This morning Sarah Woolnough, managing director of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, commented on the sale, saying Vectura had “sold millions of people living with lung disease”. Woolnough previously said the deal would create perverse incentives for Philip Morris to sell additional cigarettes in order to cash in on asthma treatments.
Philip Morris has declared his commitment to a smoke-free future and has increased revenue from quit smoking products to 28 percent.
Read more: Philip Morris gets green light for £ 1bn takeover of Vectura after bidding war