Marlboro maker Altria Group places $2.6 billion bet on marijuanaPosted by On

One of the world’s biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a US$1.8 billion ($2.6b) buy-in.

Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is taking a 45 per cent stake in Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider said Friday.

The agreement includes a warrant to acquire additional shares over the next four years that could give the Altria, which is based in Richmond, Virginia, a 55 per cent ownership stake in the Toronto company.

That would mean Altria’s investment would be in the same league as the US$4b spent earlier this year by Constellation Brands to acquire shares of Canopy Growth Corp., another Canadian pot producer.

The August investment by Constellation, which makes Corona and other beverages, was the largest to date by a…

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