Today, Reuters reported that Altria Group (MO) is in early-stage talks to buy Cronos Group (CRON), a Canadian cannabis company, as it strives to diversify its business. However, the report cautioned that there is no certainty that the acquisition will happen, as Cronos Group hasn’t agreed to any deal, and the discussion could last for several weeks.
The report appears to have led to a rise in Altria’s stock price. At 1:10 PM EST today, Altria was trading 1.7% higher, while Cronos Group was trading 15.6% higher. Last week, on November 28, the Wall Street Journal reported that Altria was in talks to acquire a minority stake in Juul, an e-cigarette manufacturer. On October 10, Toronto-based Globe & Mail reported that Altria was in talks to buy a Canadian cannabis company, Aphria.
Year-to-date stock performance
By the end of November 30, Altria was trading at $54.83, which represents a fall of 23.2% since the beginning of this year. During the same period, Philip Morris International (PM) and British American Tobacco (BTI) have fallen 18.1% and 47.9%, respectively. The increased anti-tobacco regulations and the declining smoking population have been putting pressure on tobacco companies’ stock price.