Reynolds American wins US approval to buy Lorillard

Reynolds American on Tuesday won U.S. antitrust approval to buy smaller rival Lorillard in a deal that would combine the No. 2 and No. 3 U.S. cigarette companies.

The Federal Trade Commission said it would allow the acquisition to go forward on condition that the companies sell four cigarette brands - Winston, Kool, Salem and Maverick. They will be purchased by Imperial Tobacco Group.

Reynolds, which makes Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes, said in July 2014 it would buy Lorillard, which makes Newport, for $27.4 billion. At that time, it offered to sell the four brands to address any antitrust concern, as well as Lorillard's Blu e-cig. Blu was not mentioned in the final agreement with the FTC, but its sale is expected to go forward.

Altria Group, which owns Marlboro, has a 47 percent U.S. market share, followed by Reynolds at 26 percent and Lorillard at 14 percent, according to 2013 data from Euromonitor International. The data is the most recent available.

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