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Administrative Law Judge Dismisses FTC Complaint Against Altria’s Minority Investment in JUUL


- Decision subject to further review by FTC -

RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) (NYSE: MO) today announces that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) claims against Altria and JUUL Labs, Inc. (JUUL) arising out of Altria’s 2018 minority investment in JUUL. Following a three-week trial, the ALJ found that the evidence failed to sustain the alleged violations.

The ALJ’s decision is subject to review by the FTC. Any decision by the FTC may be appealed to any U.S. Court of Appeals.

“We are pleased with this decision and have said all along that our minority investment in JUUL does not harm competition and does not violate the antitrust laws,” said Murray Garnick, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Altria.

In April 2020, the FTC issued an administrative complaint against Altria and JUUL alleging that Altria’s 35% investment in JUUL and the associated agreements constitute an unreasonable restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, and substantially lessened competition in violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act.

A public version of the ALJ’s decision is expected to be made available late this month.

Altria’s Profile

Altria has a leading portfolio of tobacco products for U.S. tobacco consumers age 21+. Altria’s Vision by 2030 is to responsibly lead the transition of adult smokers to a smoke-free future (Vision). Altria is Moving Beyond Smoking™, leading the way in moving adult smokers away from cigarettes by taking action to transition millions to potentially less harmful choices - believing it is a substantial opportunity for adult tobacco consumers, Altria’s businesses and society.

Altria’s wholly owned subsidiaries include leading manufacturers of both combustible and smoke-free products. In combustibles, Altria owns Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), the most profitable U.S. cigarette manufacturer, and John Middleton Co. (Middleton), a leading U.S. cigar manufacturer. Altria’s smoke-free portfolio includes ownership of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC (USSTC), the leading global moist smokeless tobacco (MST) manufacturer, and Helix Innovations LLC (Helix), a rapidly growing manufacturer of oral nicotine pouches. Altria also enhances its smoke-free product portfolio with exclusive U.S. commercialization rights to the IQOS Tobacco Heating System® and Marlboro HeatSticks®, and an equity investment in JUUL Labs, Inc. (JUUL).

Altria also owns equity investments in Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (ABI), the world’s largest brewer, and Cronos Group Inc. (Cronos), a leading Canadian cannabinoid company.

The brand portfolios of Altria’s tobacco operating companies include Marlboro®, Black & Mild®, Copenhagen®, Skoal® and on!®. Trademarks and service marks related to Altria referenced in this release are the property of Altria or its subsidiaries or are used with permission.

Learn more about Altria at www.altria.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Source: Altria Group, Inc.