UK's Vectura agrees to $1.44 billion rival bid from Philip Morris

Philip Morris International Operation Center is pictured in Lausanne August 19, 2009. Philip Morris International (PMI) is the leading international tobacco company, with products sold in approximately 160 countries. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files

(Reuters) – Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc said on Friday it will buy Vectura Group in a deal valuing the British pharmaceutical company at 1.05 billion pounds ($1.44 billion) as it expands beyond tobacco and nicotine.

Shareholders of Vectura, which focuses on inhaled medicines, will get 150 pence per share in cash, the companies said in a joint statement.

Vectura, which in May agreed to a 958 million pound ($1.32 billion) deal with Carlyle Group Inc, said it has withdrawn its backing for the 136 pence per share offer made by the global investment firm in favour of the higher bid from Philip Morris.

The tobacco giant, which has been looking beyond its traditional products and expanding into the broader healthcare market, said it plans for Vectura to operate as an independent unit and be at the centre of its inhaled therapeutics business.

($1 = 0.7264 pounds)

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