Altria’s JUUL Deal Draws Scrutiny By Regulators

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requested additional information on the Altria Group purchase of a minority stake in JUUL. The deal closed in December, but the FTC has asked for more information before the Altria stake is converted into voting securities. Altria indicated in a release that the request is a “normal part of the FTC’s investigation” and that they still expect the conversion of the share to take place this summer. This action by the FTC follows on the comments by former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Gottlieb indicating that he felt the companies had reneged on their promises to help combat underage use of vapor products and called the companies to the FDA headquarters to explain the strategy in light of Altria’s investment.