Altria writes down $four.5 billion from its funding in Juul – TechCrunch


Going through growing scrutiny from worldwide and home regulators, the Altria Group has determined to put in writing down its funding into the e-cigarette firm JUUL by $four.5 billion.

That’s roughly one-third of the $12.eight billion that the tobacco big had invested into JUUL rather less than one 12 months in the past.

What a distinction a 12 months has made.

JUUL, which has change into synonymous with the vaping phenomenon that has swept the U.S., was as soon as hailed as being on the forefront of a wave of corporations that have been making smoking out of date and nicotine consumption safer for customers.

The corporate started operating into issues as its recognition elevated exponentially (partially by allegedly turning to among the similar techniques huge tobacco used to focus on underage customers).

Because the complaints started to roll in, and as JUUL was held answerable for an explosion in the usage of tobacco merchandise amongst underage People, the regulatory scrutiny additionally started to extend.

First the corporate was compelled to restrict its sale of flavored tobacco merchandise. Now it might be compelled to drag all of its flavored merchandise outright.

Not one of the firm’s troubles have been helped by the wave of vaping associated sicknesses which have swept by way of the U.S. inflicting a number of deaths in customers throughout a number of states.

Certainly, a brand new lawsuit towards the corporate (filed two days in the past) alleges that JUUL knowingly bought contaminated pods regardless of warnings from no less than one worker.

First reported by BuzzFeed, the lawsuit was introduced by Siddharth Breja, a former senior vice chairman of worldwide finance at Juul from Might 2018 to March 2019.

Breja alleges he was fired for complaining concerning the cost — a declare that a spokesperson for JUUL referred to as “baseless”.

“[Breja] was terminated in March 2019 as a result of he did not exhibit the management qualities wanted in his position,”a spokesperson for JUUL wrote in an electronic mail. “The allegations regarding issues of safety with Juul merchandise are equally meritless, and we already investigated the underlying manufacturing challenge and decided the product met all relevant specs.”

The write down by Altria follows an announcement from JUUL that it intends to put off round 500 folks — or roughly 10% of its workforce.



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