Swedish Match recommends shareholders accept Philip Morris’ $16 bln offer


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Swedish Match AB on Thursday recommended its shareholders accept Marlboro maker Philip Morris International Inc’s raised $16 billion buyout bid for the tobacco company.

Some Swedish Match shareholders have opposed Philip Morris’ latest bid that was raised by more than 9% to 116 Swedish crowns ($10.59) per share, saying the total value of the new offer was little changed from the original bid due to the appreciation in the U.S. currency against the Swedish krona.

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Under Swedish law, 90% of Swedish Match shareholders need to approve the offer before Nov. 4. Philip Morris said it was sticking to this acceptance rate.

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The company in May made its first all-cash offer of 106 crowns per share for Stockholm-based Swedish Match, which controls about half the world’s market for snus, a Scandinavian moist oral tobacco product, and is also the global industry leader for nicotine pouches.

Philip Morris has been under pressure since to increase the offer as hedge funds, including Elliott Management Corp, have bolstered their stakes in Swedish Match in anticipation of a sweetened bid.

Philip Morris is aiming to expand its presence in the fast-growing market for cigarette alternatives and boost the sale of smoke-free products to more than half of its revenue by 2025. ($1 = 10.9580 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)


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