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The No. 2 tobacco company in the U.S. is buying the No.3 cigarette maker in a $27.4 billion deal (including debt) that would put the new company almost neck and neck with the top producer in the nation. Reynolds, maker of Camels, said Tuesday it would buy rival Lorillard, maker of Newport, for $68.88 per share. To try and help the deal get past antitrust regulators, Reynolds also said it would sell its KOOL, Salem, Winston, Maverick and blu eCigs brands to Imperial Tobacco for $7.1 billion in cash. Reynolds is the second-largest U.S. tobacco company by sales after Marlboro parent Altria, which controls about half of the market. After combining with Lorillard, Reynolds will be slightly smaller than Altria.
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-- NBC News staff and Reuters