Altria, the maker of Malboro cigarettes, is in talks about a potential takeover of the Canadian marijuana producer Cronos as it seeks to diversify its business beyond standard cigarette smokers.

Cronos shares were up more than 6% in early trading on Tuesday on New york city’s Nasdaq exchange, pressing its market price to nearly $2bn (₤ 1.6 bn).

Canada legalised recreational use of marijuana this year, and the country is viewed as a testing room for marijuana business intending to expand internationally as other countries follow suit. Canada becomes 2nd country to legalise Marijuana

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Cronos stated no arrangement about a transaction had actually been reached, adding there could be no guarantee such discussions would lead to an investment or any other transaction including the companies.

Altria, which is also the moms and dad business of Philip Morris U.S.A., did not respond to a request for remark.

A deal would mark among the biggest mixes between mainstream tobacco and the booming however unpredictable cannabis sector, which has actually drawn in interest from a range of big consumer business that are keeping an eye on the market for disruptive threats and faster-growing item possibilities.

In June, the London-based tobacco company Imperial Brands took an undisclosed stake in the carefully held Oxford Cannabinoid. Constellation Brands revealed a $3.8 bn financial investment in Canopy Growth in August, while Coca-Cola said in September it was watching the area for alliances that could potentially assist it develop products including cannabinoid oil.

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Altria’s shares have fallen by more than 20% throughout the years, as smoking continues to decline in the US. Federal information this month showed an approximated 14% of grownups in the country smoked cigarettes in 2017, the most affordable level ever.

Altria has actually purchased the e-cigarette sector in recent years through its Nu Mark subsidiary. It is also in speak to take a minority stake of 20-40% in the e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, sources said last week.

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__ link” href=” https://www.theguardian.com/business/tobacco-industry” > Tobacco industry
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link” href=” https://www.theguardian.com/society/drugs” > Drugs
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