Altria to convert its non-voting JUUL shares to voting shares, but will remain a ‘passive investor’

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Altria Group Inc. said it has chosen to convert the non-voting shares of e-cigarette company JUUL Labs Inc. it owns to voting shares. Altria said, however, that it does not intend to exercise its rights as part of the conversion to elect directors to JUUL’s board, or to use its voting power other than as a “passive investor,” pending the outcome of litigation with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. In December 2018, Altria had bought a 35% non-voting stake in JUUL for $12.8 billon, with conversion to voting shares contingent on antitrust clearance. In April 2020, the FTC sued to unwind Altria’s investment in JUUL. Altria’s stock, which slipped 0.4% in premarket trading, has dropped 20.3% year to date, while the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF has gained 6.1% and the S&P 500 has advanced 10.6%.
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