Marlboro maker leaps into the cannabis trade with $2.4B

Pack of Marlboro cigarettes, Photo Date: January 2011 / Cropped Photo: Nikita2706 / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 / (MGN)
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NEW YORK (AP) - One of the world's biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a $2.4 billion investment in Cronos Group, a Canadian medical and recreational marijuana company.

Altria, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, is taking a 45 percent stake in the Toronto company.

Cronos said Friday that the Richmond, Virginia, tobacco company will pay another $1.4 billion for warrants that if exercised, would give the Altria a 55 percent majority ownership stake.

Cronos first announced that it was in talks with Altria this week.

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