Regional
3:42 pm
Wed June 23, 2004

F-T-C Clears Way for Tobacco Company Merger

Winston-Salem, NC – The Federal Trade Commission is giving the green light to
a marriage of the nation's number two and number three
tobacco companies. A merger between R.J.Reynolds
and Louisville-based Brown and Williamson will create
a tobacco giant that will produce one third of the cigarettes
in the United States.

The F-T-C voted unanimously to close their investigation
of the proposed 2.6 billion dollar cash and stock transaction.
The F-T-C says the merger is unlikely to lessen competition
in the U-S cigarette market.

The merger will end Brown and Williamson's presence in
Louisville, where it has been based since the 1920s. Company
officials have indicated that employees will either lose their
jobs or be offered transfers to North Carolina.