A deal between the two companies is not imminent, but any deal reached would be big, according to the sources. Three-year old San Francisco-based Juul Labs was valued at USD 16 billion (EUR 14.1 billion) in summer and the talks are said to involve a “significant” minority stake, the newspaper said.
Juul Labs makes the Juul e-cigarette which has come to dominate the US vapour market and Altria Group is the largest tobacco company in the US. Altria owns Marlboro cigarettes maker Philip Morris USA and has its own portfolio of cigarette alternatives. Products in Altria’s e-cigarette portfolio currently compete with Juul and Altria has the US marketing rights to the IQOS heated tobacco device made by Philip Morris International, which is currently pending market review by the US Food and Drug Administration.