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NEW YORK -- If you can't beat them, join them. Some might argue that this is the mantra of tobacco companies eyeing the electronic cigarette industry.
Philip Morris USA's parent company The Altria Group Inc. made news late last week with the announcement that it will introduce its own e-cigarette in the second half of this year. The Richmond, Va.-based tobacco company is the last of the big three to enter the electronic cigarette arena. Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard Inc. and Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc. made inroads in 2012.
The interest of big tobacco in this segment prompted Stuart Varney, host of "Varney & Co." on Fox Business Network, to ask Eli Alelov, president, CEO and founder of Logic Technology Development LLC, if he is entertaining offers to sell his Livingston, N.J.-based company, which makes Logic e-cigarettes.
"You are in it and the big guys want in. That makes you very valuable," Varney said during Alelov's appearance on his show this morning.
Varney noted that Lorillard paid $135 million for blu ecigs in April 2012.
Alelov acknowledged that tobacco companies have been talking to him and his partner, but he said it is too early to sell. He also declined to comment on any numbers that may have been discussed. "At this point, we are focused on selling the product [in stores] and building the brand," he said.
He added that developing an electronic cigarette and gaining a foothold in the industry is not that easy, pointing out that the e-cigarette industry is a technology industry, not a tobacco industry.
"We all fly on planes, but that does not mean that if you give us the keys, we can fly the plane," Alelov said.