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Brown & Williamson Sells Six Brands to Commonwealth

July 25, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. said Thursday it agreed to sell six former American Tobacco brands to Commonwealth Brands Inc. to fulfill an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The U.S. unit of B.A.T Industries PLC said the sale price was not disclosed because completion is still subject to FTC approval.

The sale includes the domestic rights to Montclair, Malibu, Riviera, Crown’s, Special 10′s and Bull Durham. B&W retains all international rights to the brands, B.A.T. said. Commonwealth will also acquire the former American Tobacco cigarette plant in Reidsville, N.C.

Commonwealth is a small cigarette maker based in Bowling Green, Ky., specializing in low-priced, unadvertised brands.

Louisville, Ky.-based B&W agreed to sell the brands in 1994 to get FTC approval of its $1 billion purchase of American Tobacco.

The FTC already this year nixed B&W’s plan to sell the brands to Lorillard Tobacco Co., saying the deal wouldn’t help competition and could lead to closing the Reidsville plant.

Liggett Group Inc. had complained that it nearly closed a deal to buy the brands last year when B&W abruptly scuttled the transaction.

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