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WINSTON-SALEM. N.C. — Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) and British American Tobacco (BAT) moved closer to an official tie-up, with shareholders for both tobacco companies giving their pending $47-million merger a green light.
At a special meeting July 19, RAI shareholders approved the merger plan that will make RAI an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of BAT. They also approved transaction-related compensation payments for RAI executive officers.
Across the Atlantic, BAT shareholders also held a special meeting to cast votes in favor of the merger agreement, which was reached in January.
"We are delighted with the overwhelming support we have received, both from BAT shareholders and from Reynolds shareholders," said BAT's Chief Executive Nicandro Durante.
"We look forward to welcoming Reynolds group employees to British American Tobacco and to realizing the benefits of operating these two great companies as one stronger, global tobacco and Next Generation Products business with direct access for our products across the most attractive markets in the world," Durante added.
The transaction is expected to close on July 25. On the day of completion, BAT's American Depositary Shares will stop trading on the New York Stock Exchange "MKT" and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the existing trading symbol "BTI".
The final days come six months after the two tobacco companies reached a deal for BAT to acquire the remaining roughly 58 percent of RAI common stock it does not currently own for $49 million, as CSNews Online previously reported.
RAI accepted the proposal three months after BAT made its original offer of $47 billion in October.
Based in Winston-Salem, RAI is the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc., American Snuff Co. LLC, Niconovum USA Inc., Niconovum AB and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co.
London-based BAT is a global tobacco group with brands sold in more than 200 markets.