E.U. delays review of Imperial Tobacco bid for rival Altadis
BRUSSELS (MarketWatch) -- The European Commission Monday extended its antitrust review of U.K.-based Imperial Tobacco Group PLC's (IMT.LN) EUR12.6 billion bid to take over Spanish-French rival Altadis SA (ALT.MC), to Oct. 18, on commitments offered by Imperial.
Although not specified by the regulator, commitments usually mean divesting parts of the company which would have led to excessive concentration in the markets.
Imperial Tobacco is the fourth largest tobacco company in the world in terms of market share. It is best known for its Davidoff and West brand cigarettes and its products are available in more than 130 countries.
Altadis' best sellers are Fortuna, Gauloises Blondes and Gitanes. It is also the world's largest maker of cigars by sales. The jewel in Altadis' cigar business is its 50% share of Cuba's Habanos SA. The takeover would bring Imperial into the highly profitable cigar markets.
The deal would consolidate Imperial's position in the top group of tobacco producers. It will also mean Imperial surpasses British American Tobacco PLC (BTI 70.85, -1.13, -1.6%) and Japan Tobacco (2914.TO) to become Europe's second largest player behind Altria