Cigarette giant Gallaher, which owns the Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut brands, has accepted a £9.7bn bid from Japan Tobacco. The deal would be the biggest-ever foreign takeover by a Japanese company.
Japan Tobacco, owner of the Camel and Winston brands, is offering £11.40 a share, which values Gallaher’s equity at £7.5bn. Including debt, the deal is worth £9.7bn. Gallaher’s directors are recommending the offer to shareholders.
Gallaher chairman John Gildersleeve says: "[The offer] reflects Gallaher’s achievements and provides shareholders with the ability to realise their investment for cash at an attractive value, and creates an opportunity for the business as a whole."
He adds: "The importance of scale, a broad geographic coverage and a leading and diversified brand portfolio are becoming increasingly apparent."