With a spectacular investment in Altria, the manufacturer of the cigarette brand Marlboro, wants to strengthen its Position in the growth market for E-cigarettes. The tobacco group announced on Thursday the purchase of a 35% stake in Juul, the American market leader in this category. Altria intends to pay for the participation of 12.8 billion dollars, and rating of the Partner, with a total of 38 billion dollars. Juul has thus become one of the most expensive Start-Up companies in America. The E-cigarette specialist from San Francisco, whose products are sold only for three years, is now rated higher than that of the space travel firm Space X or the intermediary Airbnb in their latest financing rounds. Only a few months ago Juul has a rating of still 16 billion dollars.

Roland Lindner

economic correspondent in New York.

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The Alliance brings together two very unequal partners. Juul has positioned itself in the past few years, aggressively against players of traditional cigarettes manufacturer and was very successful. Within a short period of time, the company was the dominant supplier of E-cigarettes in America. It is now represented in eight countries, including, since this week also in Germany. According to estimates, there is currently an annual turnover of around two billion dollars. Juul wants his products to be an Alternative to ordinary cigarettes offer smokers; the company was founded according to its own information of former smokers. E-cigarettes included as tobacco cigarettes, the addictive substance of nicotine, but it is considered less harmful to health, because they do with no tar and other carcinogenic applicable substances. You give your users to nicotine in the Form of a vaporized liquid.

But also E-cigarettes are very controversial, because they are among young people very popular. Juul referred to it even as a “Problem” that E-cigarettes arrive in this age group so well, and wrote in a press release on Thursday: “Our intention was never that young Juul-use products.” The company has only recently announced a series of steps, the consumption of E-cigarettes among young people. For example, only Juul-products with tobacco and Menthol flavors are readily available in stores, with flavors like Mango, or cucumber, there is only online. At the same time, additional efforts have been made to verify the age of customers on the website. Juul has hazards in addition to his activities in social networks and operates in America no Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Juul wants to remain independent

The Billion, stake in Juul comes at a time in the core business with ordinary cigarettes, Altria is preparing more and more. In the United States, the proportion of smokers in the adult population was according to the government, in the past year, only 14 per cent. Twenty years ago, nearly one in four Americans still Smoking. Altria reported for the first nine months of this year, a decline in sales. Chairman of the Board Howard Willard described the investment in Juul on Thursday as a preparation for “a future in which adult smokers with an overwhelming majority for non-flammable products, instead of cigarettes.”