Swedish Match: A Cut Above the Rest

Swedish Match (SWMA)

Elliott Investment Management is increasing its stake in Swedish Match AB, the tobacco company that's planning to be acquired for $16 billion, sources said.

The US-based activist investor plans to oppose the transaction under its current terms, the people said. The takeover was agreed in May by Philip Morris International Inc.

A representative for Elliott declined to comment. A representative for Swedish Match was not immediately available outside of regular business hours. A representative for Philip Morris was not immediately available for comment.

Philip Morris must buy more than 90% of Swedish Match's shares if it wishes to waive the condition that allows it to do so.

Philip Morris has entered the competitive market for oral nicotine products, which are very different from the chewing tobacco of the past. The agreement, one of the year's largest deals, thrusts Philip Morris into this field.

Swedish Match is a leader in the production of snus, a smokeless tobacco product that users place between their upper lip and gum. Snus is popular in Sweden but banned throughout much of Europe. Swedish Match also makes nicotine pouches called ZYN.

Paul Singer, who is a billionaire, has agitated for changes at some of the world's largest and most prominent companies, including Twitter Inc., Canadian National Railway Co., and AT&T Inc. in the recent past.