Altria Tells FTC Judge Juul Deal Not Meant To Cut Competition

By Matthew Perlman (June 2, 2021, 9:35 PM EDT) -- In the kickoff of an administrative trial on antitrust claims, tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. told a Federal Trade Commission judge Wednesday that it bought a $12.8 billion stake in electronic cigarette company Juul Labs Inc. because its own smoking alternatives were unsuccessful and not to avoid competition.

Representing Altria, Beth A. Wilkinson of Wilkinson Stekloff LLP told FTC Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell that while Altria and JLI once fought fiercely in the market for electronic vaporizers, "JLI won the battle and Altria lost."

The FTC's enforcement action alleges that Altria's acquisition of a 35% stake in JLI was...

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