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    Philip Morris Is Altria - Almost

    Tobacco giant edges closer to name change

    NEW YORK -- Efforts by international cigarette giant Philip Morris Cos. Inc. to change its name to the more anonymous Altria Group Inc. gained momentum when a case filed by Altira Group LLC to block the name change was voluntarily dismissed, Reuters reported.

    Altira, a venture capital firm, had filed a preliminary injunction against Philip Morris, fearing confusion over the similar names. Known for its powerful Marlboro brand, Philip Morris proposed changing its corporate name last November to Altria, which is derived from the Latin word 'altus,' meaning high or peak.

    Philip Morris shareholders overwhelmingly approved the planned change during the company's annual shareholder meeting in April. Under the name change, domestic tobacco unit Philip Morris U.S.A., international tobacco unit Philip Morris International and food giant Kraft Foods Inc would keep their names.

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