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Philip Morris offers EU concessions in Swedish Match deal

October 6, 2022

A Swedish Match concept store for the tobacco group's moist powder tobacco "snus" in Stockholm, Sweden October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Anna Ringstrom/File Photo

Philip Morris has offered concessions to address EU antitrust concerns over its $16 billion bid for tobacco and nicotine products maker Swedish Match, a European Commission filing showed on Wednesday.

The EU competition enforcer did not provide details of the concessions in line with its policy. It will seek feedback from rivals and customers before deciding whether to accept them or demand more.

The Commission extended its deadline for a decision to Oct. 25 from Oct. 11. Companies typically offer remedies during the preliminary review if they are confident that the EU antitrust watchdog will accept them.

The Commission had been expected to clear the deal unconditionally but no final decision had been made, people close to the matter said on Tuesday.

The deal, which has been cleared in the US and Brazil, is complex and EU regulators have to take into account the scope and characteristics of the European market, another person said.

Meanwhile, the deal is hanging in the balance after American investment management firm Elliott Management Corp disclosed last week that it had increased its stake to 7.25 per cent from 5.5 per cent.

By Swedish law, 90 per cent of Swedish Match shareholders need to approve the offer before Oct. 21, but some oppose the 106 Swedish crown per share bid for one of the world’s biggest makers of oral nicotine products.