US FTC Withdraws Lawsuit Against Altria and Juul

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US FTC Withdraws Lawsuit Against Altria and Juul
On July 3rd, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) withdrew its lawsuit against tobacco giant Altria and e-cigarette manufacturer Juul. The FTC had accused Altria of violating US antitrust laws after acquiring a 35% stake in Juul.

On July 3rd, it was reported by Reuters that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has withdrawn its lawsuit against tobacco giant Altria and e-cigarette manufacturer Juul. The FTC filed the lawsuit against them, alleging violation of the US Antitrust Law, after Altria acquired a 35% stake in Juul.


The current incident can be traced back to 2020 when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) believed that Altria's $12.8 billion investment in Juul violated US antitrust laws. This was because the company acquired shares of a competitor rather than engaging in market competition. Data provided by the FTC indicates that MarkTen, owned by Altria, was once the second most popular e-cigarette brand in the United States.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stated in a declaration that it will also revoke a judge's ruling that favored these companies. The FTC emphasized that since this judgment has been overturned, it cannot be cited as a legal precedent.


After Altria's withdrawal from its investment in Juul in 2023, it has requested the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to dismiss the lawsuit. As of December 2022, Altria's stake in Juul was valued at approximately $250 million, marking a significant decline from the $12.8 billion valuation in 2018.


Altria expressed satisfaction with the Federal Trade Commission's decision to drop the lawsuit. However, Juul not only faces litigation from the FTC but also continues to face legal action from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, Juul has not obtained the FDA's e-cigarette marketing authorization.


In May this year, Altria announced that it will pay $235 million to settle at least 6,000 lawsuits alleging that their early investment in Juul fueled the popularity of e-cigarettes among teenagers.


Reference: 【1】US FTC drops Altria complaint after Marlboro-maker exits stake in Juul Labs


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