A Match for European Tobacco Giants?

British cigarette maker Imperial makes a bid for Franco-Spanish rival Altadis, maker of Gauloises, in a bid to counteract falling sales

Cigarette companies have been taking some serious knocks in Europe. Restrictions on tobacco advertising, widespread public smoking bans across the continent, and ever-rising taxes are discouraging people from lighting up. No wonder companies are looking to join forces. On July 18, Britain's Imperial Tobacco (ITY) announced a $22.3 billion offer for its Franco-Spanish rival Altadis (ALDS.PA), a merger that would make it the world's fourth largest tobacco company.

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