E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Imperial Tobacco Acquires Blu E-Cigarettes Following R.J. Reynolds-Lorillard Merger

Imperial Tobacco has gone from just getting its feet wet in the electronic cigarette market to owning the world’s most successful e-cigarettes brand, after it acquired Blu Electronic Cigarettes from the newly-newly formed R.J. Reynolds-Lorillard tobacco juggernaut.

blu-e-cigarettesBlu is the currently the best-selling electronic cigarette brand in the United States, accounting for around 47% of the market. Established as an independent company, it was acquired by Lorillard in 2012, for $135 million. Taking advantage of the cigarette maker’s chain of distribution and seemingly-endless marketing funds, Blu’s sales grew exponentially in a very short time, to the point where it now controls half the e-cigarette marketing in the US.

So when two of the world’s largest tobacco companies, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard, officially announced their merger, everyone was surprised that Blu wasn’t included in the deal. Instead, it was placed on sale, and Imperial Tobacco snatched it, along with a few other tobacco cigarette brands, for a total of $7.1 billion. According to Susan Cameron, chief executive of Reynolds, their own e-cigarette brand, the VUSE, uses superior technology compared to Blu, and has been well received since it was first launched on the market, last year. It appears the new tobacco company wasn’t too confident that Blu can retain its leading position in an increasingly competitive e-cig market, and decided to focus all its efforts on what it believes is a superior product.

This view was certainly not shared by Imperial Tobacco’s CEO, Allison Cooper. Although Imperial launched its own electronic cigarette, called Puritane, it could not resist getting its hands on the most valuable e-cigarette brand on the market. “It’s the perfect time for getting Blu,” Cooper told reporters during a conference call yesterday, and even though she declined to comment on whether Blu was pivotal to the $7.1 billion transaction, analysts believe that was the case. A source close to the deal talks told Reuters that Imperial Tobacco insisted Blu be included, along with Reynolds’ Kool, Salem and Winston cigarette brands and Lorrilard’s Maverick.

After the recent acquisition, Imperial Tobacco has become the third-largest tobacco company in the United States, as well as the top player in the electronic cigarette market. Apparently, it’s also making plans to build on Blu’s reputation outside the US, as well. “When it comes to e-cigarettes, outside of the US, you haven’t got strong brands,” Allison Cooper said. “The opportunity is to start getting the technology right with a great brand.” Blu had already begun expanding into Europe months ago, when it acquired SKYCIG, one of the leading e-cig brands in the UK.

Imperial Tobacco’s acquisition of Blu does seem like a winning move, but it’s also a bit strange. A few months back, we reported that Imperial was suing other tobacco companies, including Lorrilard, as well as several e-cigarette businesses, like NJOY, VMR Products, VaporCorp, Logic, FIN Branding, Victory E-Cigarettes and Blu, for intellectual property infringement. It had bought the original e-cigarette patents from Dragonite International, a Chinese company founded by Hon Lik, the man generally recognized as the inventor of the electronic cigarette, and was now seeking compensation. So why would they spend millions on an e-cigarette company that is allegedly still using their patents illegally?

5 Comments/Reviews

  • Rosalee says:

    So what has happened to the Blu e-cig? Is it good or bad fir us? Is it using US tobacco, not other countries? I want a brand that is produced in the US, a safe & well made e-cig with good research being made. To me, it’s not all about money, but how it will effect my health years from now…

    • Snarky says:

      You’re worried about how it will affect your health years from now? Then stop vaping, because absolutely nobody knows. There is little long-term science on the subject, and the FDA is still only proposing to regulate an already existing industry that is merely fighting over natural ingredients vs. caustic ones: that’s the easy part. The hard part is whether inhaling vaporized VG, PG, or a combination of the two, along with flavors, has any detrimental health affects over time. Wisdom dictates that yes, it could quite possibly.

      • Reason says:

        The truth is that the truth is not so mired in fog as many would believe. “E-cigs” pre-enclosed from the factory cartridges or disposable cigarette-shaped devices are not heavily regulated and in many (dare I say most?) cases have mostly the same harmful ingredients as any traditional cigarette, while in smaller doses.

        The vape industry though, is the real growing market which none of these e
        “e-cig” reports or market share statistics account for. This being products which are re-fill-able, clean tanks, vaping e-liquid comprised of Propylene Glycol and/or Vegetable Glycerin. Both of which are approved by the EPA as inhalants. Propylene Glycol already is used commonly for this purpose in Inhalers for Adults and Children. It was also noted in the 40’s by doctor O.H. Robertson to be effective in reducing hazardous bacterias that are airborne in a given space.

        Big Tobacco wants to cover the market but their product is the one still causing drastic health problems. Do the research, talk to the vapor shops, not the gas stations (where e-cigs are primarilly sold).

      • BoomerFT says:

        All I know for fact is my wife quit smoking real cigarettes three years ago with the help of these vapor products. Her emphysema/health has improved drastically. She has cut her nicotine levels to the low formula.

  • Nathan says:

    I like them. They’re nice and smooth

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