Philip Morris International Inc.
agreed to buy
PLC, a U.K. pharmaceuticals business specializing in inhaled medicines, for $1.24 billion in cash, bolstering its push to expand beyond tobacco and nicotine.
Philip Morris International, which is listed in New York but sells the Marlboro brand outside the U.S., on Friday said that Vectura will be the backbone of a business built around inhaled therapeutics. Inhalers used by asthma sufferers, for instance, are common for the treatment of respiratory illness, but have shown promise in the delivery of other medicines.
The deal trumps an earlier agreement in May by Vectura to be bought by Carlyle Group Inc. Philip Morris’s offer of 899.2 million poundsvalues Vectura at 150 pence a share, 10% higher than the private-equity firm’s bid. Carlyle said Friday it is considering its options.
Shares in Vectura were trading 13% higher in London.
Philip Morris said the acquisition is part of its evolution into a broader healthcare and wellness company. Earlier this year, it outlined plans to generate more than half of its revenue from smokeless products by 2025, up from 24% in 2020.
Philip Morris said respiratory drug delivery and so-called self-care wellness products are key in its plans to move away from tobacco and nicotine. It said Vectura can help it tap into the fast-growing market for inhaled therapeutics.
Vectura, based in Chippenham, England, will operate as an autonomous business unit within Philip Morris with support for its current strategy, the companies said. In 2019, the company changed its strategy to focus on providing contracted drug-development services for partners.
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Appeared in the July 10, 2021, print edition as ‘Philip Morris Bids for Drug Firm.’