British American Tobacco PLC has offered to take full ownership of Reynolds American Inc, increasing its bid by another $2.4 billion to $49.4 billion. This increase, however, would give BAT the remaining 57.8 percent of the company that it did not already own.
By accepting the offer, then, Reynolds shareholders will now be able to own 19 percent of the new—and larger—BAT company, which is now also the largest publicly traded tobacco manufacturer in the world.
In response to the announcement of the deal, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive Gayle Anderson notes, “We look forward to continuing to work with Reynolds to make the business case for maintaining, and perhaps even growing, its operations here.”
She adds, “We believe BAT’s expanded investment in our community will benefit Winston-Salem, and we look forward to Reynolds’ combined business and civic leadership here.”
The six independent Reynolds board members accepted the offer as the company had said, back in October that neither the board executives nor the 5 BAT representatives would be allowed to vote on acceptance.
Accordingly, Reynold’s chairwoman Susan Cameron notes, “Through the transition, we form an industry leader that will focus on innovation and brand building. This combination will create a truly global tobacco company with multiple iconic tobacco brands, and a world-class pipeline of next-generation vapor and tobacco-heating products.”
This merging comes at a time, of course, when the tobacco industry continues to face a massive transition. With a more health-conscious global consumer—and the threat of multiple economic collapses—there is no way of knowing what the future holds. As such, there is little time to spare in making moves like this.
For examples, Stephen Pope, who is the managing partner with Spotlight Ideas of London, notes that the recent drop of the pound vs. the U.S. dollar could have pushed BAT to up its offer.
He comments, “I sense that Sterling vs, Dollar will fall again, and so this deal was only ever going to become increasingly expensive. BAT had to dig deeper into its pockets to win the prize, but it is a price worth paying,”
At the end of the day, BAT’s initial offer was valued at $24.13 in cash with another $32.37 in BAT shares. That is a total of $56.50 overall at a time when the BAT share price was worth $118.13.
Overall, the accepted offer is currently valued at $29.44 in cash with another $30.20 in BAT shares, for a total of $59.64.