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Altria’s Vape Exit Before $12.8 Billion Juul Deal Draws Suit (2)

April 8, 2020, 2:42 PMUpdated: April 8, 2020, 8:21 PM

Altria Group Inc. and Juul Labs Inc. were hit with antitrust claims in Los Angeles federal court over Altria’s exit from the tobacco vaping market as part of its $12.8 billion deal to acquire 35% of Juul, a few days after the Federal Trade Commission sued to unwind the deal.

The proposed consumer class action concerns Juul’s “stunning” climb between 2015 and 2018, by which time it dominated 70% of the vaping industry, displacing many of the e-cigarette products sold by traditional tobacco companies.

“Juul’s swift rise posed a grave competitive threat to Altria,” the lawsuit says. The claims ...