Philip Morris International expects EU antitrust approval for its $16 billion bid for tobacco and nicotine products maker Swedish Match in late October, the company said on Tuesday.
Marlboro-maker Philip Morris announced its cash offer for the Stockholm-based group at 106 crowns per share in May, seeking to expand in the fast-growing market for cigarette alternatives.
Philip Morris, which was spun off from Swedish Match rival Altria in 2008, has said it wants smoke-free products to account for more than half of sales by 2025.
"PMHH's current assessment is that the process with the European Commission will instead be completed late October 2022," Philip Morris said in a statement, as it extended the acceptance period for its offer to Swedish Match shareholders to 4 November.
"We believe our offer remains very compelling, particularly given the current market environment," Jacek Olczak, chief executive said in a statement.
"We look forward to completing the transaction, while also continuing to actively progress on our strategic alternatives to Swedish Match, should the offer ultimately prove unsuccessful," the CEO said.
The extension of the EU competition enforcer's preliminary review from its scheduled 11 October deadline would suggest that Philip Morris may have to offer remedies.
The Commission declined to comment.
Earlier on Tuesday, sources had told Reuters that the EU antitrust enforcer does not see any competition issues arising from the deal, but that a final decision has not been made.
News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more a-brand news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.