Tobacco powerhouse Altria has invested $1.8 billion in Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group, the companies announced in a press release on Friday. Under the terms of the deal Altria, the parent company of the Marlboro cigarette brand, will acquire a 45 percent ownership stake in Cronos. Shares in Cronos Group shot up more than 30 percent and Altria rose 2 percent in early trading on Friday morning after news of the deal was made public.
Cannabis Presents ‘Significant Growth Potential’
Howard Willard, the chairman and chief executive officer of Altria, said in the release that the company will be taking advantage of the new markets created by the legalization of cannabis.
“Investing in Cronos Group as our exclusive partner in the emerging global cannabis category represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Altria,” said Willard. “We believe that Cronos Group’s excellent management team has built capabilities necessary to compete globally, and we look forward to helping Cronos Group realize its significant growth potential.”
Mike Gorenstein, Cronos Group’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer, said that Altria’s significant assets will help Cronos Group grow into cannabis markets around the world.
“Altria is the ideal partner for Cronos Group, providing the resources and expertise we need to meaningfully accelerate