Philip Morris seals deal to buy UK’s Vectura with 75% stake tendered By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Philip Morris International’s research and development headquarters are pictured next to the company’s cigarette factory in Neuchatel, Switzerland, March 17, 2017. Picture take March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Paritosh Bansal/File Photo

(Reuters) -Cigarette maker Philip Morris (NYSE:) (PMI) said it had received about 75% of Vectura shares from shareholders as part of a public tender offer process to acquire the British company, following a bidding war with Carlyle.

Vectura shareholders had until Sept. 15 to decide whether to tender their shares to PMI, which sought to buy the London-listed asthma drug maker as part of its plan to go “smoke-free” and switch to healthcare and wellness products.

“We have reached an important milestone in our acquisition of Vectura and are pleased to have secured over 74% of the company’s shares, in excess of the 50% required to make our offer unconditional and PMI the majority shareholder,” PMI Chief Executive Officer Jacek Olczak said on Thursday.

The company has extended the deadline for the remaining Vectura shareholders to tender their shares to Sept. 30.

Philip Morris has received regulatory clearance for the deal, but health groups are questioning the idea of a tobacco company making money from treating the very illnesses that cigarettes cause.

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