NEW YORK (
, the second-largest U.S. cigarette maker, is in advanced talks to buy
, a Swedish maker of smoking-cessation products for 30 million euros ($44.5 million), a report says.
Wall Street Journal
report cites David Sweanor, a Canadian law professor and tobacco expert, who was briefed by people close to the development. Sweanor said he has no stake in the potential deal between the two companies.
Niconovum, based in Helsingborg, was formed in 2000 and makes nicotine-replacement therapies such as Zonnic pouch and Zonnic gum, and currently doesn't sell its products in the U.S.
Tobacco sales in the U.S. have been on a decline for years and this development would mark the latest and most dramatic move by Reynolds into nicotine products that represent an alternative to cigarettes, the
notes. Reynolds and other tobacco companies, including bigger rival
, have owned pharmaceutical businesses, but none yet market or sell an approved smoking-cessation product, according to the newspaper. Reynolds has been marketing smokeless tobacco products.
If Reynolds was to acquire Niconovum it's unclear whether and how soon its products might hit the U.S. market, as they would be subject to approval from the Food and Drug Administration.