Reynolds American Inc. has reached an agreement with British American Tobacco p.l.c. for a $49 billion takeover that would create the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco business. The takeover agreement is currently subject to a $1 billion breakup fee. This merger brings together some of the world’s best-known tobacco brands, from Lucky Strike and Rothmans, to Dunhill and Camel cigarettes.
As of this week, it was agreed that BAT will acquire the 57.8% of RAI common stock that BAT does not currently own for $29.44 per share in cash and a number of BAT American Depositary Shares representing 0.5260 of a BAT ordinary share, currently worth $30.20 per share based on the BAT closing share price as of January 16th 2017, and the corresponding Dollar-Sterling exchange rate.
The per-share price represents a 26.4% premium to RAI’s closing price as of October 20, 2016, the day prior to BAT’s public proposal to acquire the outstanding shares that BAT does not currently own. Under the terms of the agreement, RAI shareholders will receive for each share of RAI common stock they own, $29.44 in cash and a number of BAT American Depositary Shares representing 0.5260 of a BAT ordinary share. The BAT American Depositary Shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. RAI shareholders will own approximately 19% of the combined company.
The transaction was approved by the independent directors of RAI who formed a transaction committee to negotiate with BAT, given BAT’s existing ownership stake and representation on RAI’s board of directors, and by the boards of directors of both companies.
Following the transaction, the combined companies become a stronger, truly global tobacco and Next Generation Products company, delivering sustained long-term profit growth and returns. It will maintain a presence in both profitable developed and high-growth developing markets while bringing together a compelling and complementary global portfolio of strong brands including Newport, Kent and Pall Mall. The companies’ combined next-generation product development and R&D capabilities will create an innovative pipeline of vapor and tobacco-heating products, delivering both an array of new product options for adult tobacco consumers, as well as diversified sources of profit growth opportunities for investors.
“Through this transaction, we form an industry leader that will focus on innovation and brand building,” said Susan M. Cameron, executive chairman of Reynolds American’s board of directors. “This combination will create a truly global tobacco company with multiple iconic tobacco brands, and a world-class pipeline of next-generation vapor and tobacco-heating products.”
“The transaction delivers significant value to RAI shareholders, and the independent directors on the transaction committee have unanimously voted in favour of the transaction,” said Lionel L. Nowell, III, lead independent director of Reynolds American’s board of directors. “This is an agreement that offers a compelling premium to shareholders, as well as continued ownership in a company that is well-positioned for long-term success.”
“We look forward to bringing together the two companies’ highly complementary cultures and shared commitment to innovation and transformation in our industry,” said Debra A. Crew, Reynolds American’s president and chief executive officer. “British American Tobacco is the best partner for Reynolds American’s next phase of growth, and together the two companies will create the leading portfolio of tobacco and next-generation products for adult tobacco consumers.”
“We are very pleased to have reached agreement with the board of Reynolds American as we believe that the combination of our two great companies has a very compelling strategic and financial logic that will provide a lasting benefit to shareholders, employees and all other stakeholders,” said Nicandro Durante, British American Tobacco’s chief executive officer. “This transaction will not only create a truly global business with a world-class portfolio of tobacco and next-generation products, but will also benefit from the highly talented and experienced employees in both organizations. We believe that this will drive long-term sustainable profit growth for the benefit of all shareholders.”
British American Tobacco has a strong track record of successfully integrating acquisitions and remains committed to Reynolds American’s US workforce and manufacturing facilities.
The cash component of the transaction will be financed by a combination of existing cash resources, new bank credit lines and the issuance of new bonds. A $25bn acquisition facility has been entered into with a syndicate of banks to provide financing certainty. The acquisition facility comprises $15bn and $5bn bridge loans with 1- and 2-year maturities respectively, each with two six-month extensions available at BAT’s option. In addition, the facility includes two $2.5bn term loans with maturities of 3 and 5 years. BAT intends to refinance the bridge loans through capital market debt issuances in due course.
The transaction is subject to shareholder approval from both Reynolds American and BAT shareholders, as well as regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Moore & Van Allen PLLC acted as legal counsel, and Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor to the Reynolds American transaction committee.
Jones Day acted as legal counsel and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Lazard acted as financial advisors to Reynolds American Inc.
(Source: Reynolds American)