Philip Morris to buy UK drugmaker in ‘beyond nicotine’ push

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International is making more moves into healthcare. The maker of Marlboro cigarettes said Friday it agreed to buy British drugmaker Vectura for $1.4 billion.

As a result, the manufacturer of inhaled medicines said it is withdrawing its recommendation backing an offer by investment firm Carlyle Group, whose bid was 10% lower than Philip Morris’ offer. Carlyle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Philip Morris is expanding beyond tobacco and nicotine as more people are expected to break the habit amid health concerns and regulatory crackdowns. Just last week, it agreed to buy Fertin Pharma, a Danish maker of chewing gums, tablets and powders that help people quit smoking.

News of Philip Morris’ latest deal pushed its shares higher in early trading Friday. Vectura shares shot up 13% in London.

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