Altria shutters its e-cigarette brands as it eyes Juul, awaits iQOS decision

Tobacco giant is giving up on its existing e-cigarette brands as it eyes the best-selling brand, Juul.

Altria on Friday said , along with Verve oral nicotine products. It said was based on the products‘ financial performance and the regulatory process that would require Altria to file any updates with the Food and Drug Administration before bringing them to market. The company expects to write down the assets with a one-time, pretax charge of about $200 million in the fourth quarter.

Instead, Altria said it will “refocus its resources on more compelling reduced-risk tobacco product opportunities,” referring to tobacco products that are thought to be less harmful than smoking conventional cigarettes. Already, the company has inked an agreement with to commercialize its heated tobacco product, iQOS, in the U.S. if the FDA clears it. Now, Altria is considering taking a significant minority stake in , people familiar with the matter have told CNBC. It, along with a deal announced Friday to buy a stake in Canadian cannabinoid company , are signs of the tough choices Altria is having to make to compete.

“We remain committed to being the leader in providing adult smokers innovative alternative products that reduce risk, including e-vapor,” Altria CEO Howard Willard said in a statement. “We do not see a path to leadership with these particular products and believe that now is the time to refocus our resources.”

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