Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) and Lorillard Inc. (LO) were granted approval late Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission to complete the previously announced $27.4 billion merger. In connection with the transaction, the FTC requires that the second- and third-largest U.S. cigarette makers unload four brands to Imperial Tobacco Group plc, including Reynolds' Winson, Kool and Salem, and Lorillard's Maverick. The brands being divested have suffered market share and it remains to be seen whether Imperial, which currently has a fairly minimal presence in the U.S., will be able to reignite growth in the group of assets. The international tobacco manufacturer will also gain Lorillard's manufacturing facilities in Greensboro, N.C.
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