It’s official. Tobacco/cigarette company Altria is investing in Canadian cannabis firm Cronos Group. Altria will buy a 45% stake in the company at $1.8 billion, and would have the option to raise its stake to 55%. Even before Friday’s announcement from Altria, there were reports of Altria possibly eyeing Cronos.
"Investing in Cronos Group as our exclusive partner in the emerging global cannabis category represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Altria," said Howard Willard, Altria's CEO, in a statement.
Cigarette smoking is reportedly thinning out probably due to increased health-consciousness among consumers – something that might be an additional reason behind Altria's decision to diversify into the recreational marijuana space.
Altria also announced plans to stop producing its MarkTen and Green Smoke e-cigarettes and its Verve oral nicotine, citing regulatory concerns and financial performance of the brands.