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B&H maker Gallaher bought by Japan Tobacco for £9.6bn

LONDON - British tobacco firm Gallaher, makers of the Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut cigarette brands, has been bought by Japan Tobacco for $19bn (£9.6bn).

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The board of the firm has accepted a cash offer of £11.40 a share from the rival firm, maker of the Camel, Mild Seven and Winston cigarette brands.

John Gildersleeve, chairman of Gallaher, said: "Our successful growth strategy has enabled Gallaher to achieve a significant position in the global tobacco market. With the hard work and commitment of all our employees, we have been particularly successful in a number of key countries and have delivered substantial returns for Gallaher's shareholders.

"The offer from JT reflects Gallaher's achievements and provides shareholders with the ability to realise their investment for cash at an attractive value, and creates an opportunity for the business as a whole.

"The importance of scale, a broad geographic coverage and a leading and diversified brand portfolio are becoming increasingly apparent."

Before the acquisition, JT was the world's third largest tobacco company shipping tobacco products to 120 countries.

Gallaher has an estimated 12,000 employees worldwide and is the fifth largest cigarette manufacturer.

The Gallaher brand portfolio also includes the Mayfair, Ronson and Sovereign cigarettes, Hamlet cigars, and handrolling tobacco including Old Holborn and Amber Leaf.

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