E-cigarettes: Lorillard

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Lorillard was a tobacco company based in the United States (US), which entered the UK market for e-cigarettes (also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS)  in October 2013, when it acquired the UK company Skycig. In 2014 Lorillard was bought by RJ Reynolds, which was itself bought by British American Tobacco in 2017.

Skycig Rebranded Blu Ecigs

Skycig street-ad in Edinburgh

In April 2011 Lorillard was the third biggest cigarette manufacturer in the US, and market leader in e-cigarettes with a 49% share of the US market.1 In 2013, Lorillard acquired Skycig for a reported GB£30 million at the time, plus an additional GB£30 million pounds to be paid in 2016 based on the achievement of financial targets. In March 2014, it was announced that, in line with its American brand, Skycig would become Blu Ecigs in May 2014. The rebranding was backed with a £20 million marketing campaign.2

Acquired by RJ Reynolds

On 15 July 2014, Lorillard was acquired by RJ Reynolds in a deal estimated to cost $27.4 billion, bringing over 8 months of merger discussions to a close.345

Blu Sold to Imperial

As part of the merger, Lorillard’s line of Blu e-cigarettes was sold to Imperial Brands (previously Imperial Tobacco) to soften concerns that allowing Reynolds to own both the Blu and Vuse e-cigarette brands would give it an unfair advantage in the market. 34

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  1. B. Popkin, The Tobacco Company Gaining Ground With Technology, The Motley Fool, 3 November 2013, accessed December 2013
  2. Skycig electronic cigarettes to become Blu ecigs, Convenience Store News, 21 March 2014, accessed October 2019
  3. abM.J. De la Merced, C. Bray, To Compete With Altria, Reynolds American Is Buying Lorillard, The New York Times (paywall), 15 July 2014, accessed October 2019
  4. abImperial Tobacco snaps up US brands Salem and Kool in £4bn deal, The Guardian, 15 July 2014, accessed October 2019
  5. British American Tobacco, BAT completes Acquisition of Reynolds, 25 July 2017, accessed October 2019