Altria reports they have written down their investment in Juul by more than a third, recording a $4.5 billion pretax charge against its third-quarter earnings. This news comes about one year since Altria invested $12.8 billion for a 35% stake of Juul. The recent write down takes Juul’s valuation from $38 billion down to $24 billion.
It has been a rough year for Juul after numerous cases of vaping-related lung disease in users and dramatic regulatory changes governing Juul’s marketing abilities and flavored products. The e-cigarette company has also been under attack from the Trump Administration, who has been adamantly fighting to remove all flavored vaping products from the market and creating mandatory FDA approval laws in the e-cigarette industry. Altria CEO Howard Willard has commented, “Certainly in the range of scenarios when we made our investment in Juul, we did not anticipate this dramatic of a change in the e-vapor category.”