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Tobacco giants Altria and Philip Morris ditch merger plans

The words "Phillip Morris International" written on the side of its headquarters
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Altria (NYSE: MO) and Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) said they are no longer in talks for an all-stock merger, which would have reunited the two cigarette makers after more than a decade apart.

Why it matters: It reflects tobacco industry tumult over the Trump administration's proposal to ban flavored vaping products, although the two companies still plan to launch a joint, FDA-approved, "heat-not-burn" vaping product called IQOS.

The bottom line: The deal's death raises new questions about if either company will make a distressed takeover play for Juul, whose newly-installed CEO K.C. Crosthwaite previously led IQOS for Altria (which already holds a 35% Juul stake).