According to Reuters, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has withdrawn its lawsuit against tobacco giant Altria and e-cigarette maker Juul. After Altria acquired a 35% stake in Juul, the FTC concluded that it violated the U.S. Antitrust law and sued them.
The incident can be traced back to 2020, the FTC believes that Altria’s $12.8 billion investment in Juul violated the US antitrust Law, because the company acquired shares of rival companies rather than compete in the market, FTC data show that Altria’s MarkTen was once the second most popular electronic cigarette in the United States.
In a statement, the FTC said it would also reverse a decision by an FTC judge in favor of the companies. The FTC stressed that because the ruling has been vacated, it cannot be invoked as a precedent in the law.
After exiting Juul’s investment in 2023, Altria asked the FTC to dismiss the lawsuit. As of December 2022, Altria’s stake in Juul was valued at about $250 million, down sharply from $12.8 billion in 2018.
Altria said it was pleased the FTC dropped its case. In addition to facing lawsuits with the FTC, Juul is also continuing litigation with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Juul has not yet obtained an electronic cigarette marketing license issued by the FDA.
In May, Altria said it would pay $235 million to settle at least 6,000 lawsuits accusing it of driving the popularity of teen e-cigarettes through its upfront investment in Juul.
 US FTC drops Altria complaint after Marlboro-maker exits stake in Juul Labs