LONDON — Reynolds American, the tobacco giant, said on Tuesday that it had agreed to sell the rights to its Natural American Spirit brand of cigarettes outside the United States and its territories to Japan Tobacco Group for about $ 5 billion in cash.
Reynolds American, whose brands include Camel, Newport and Pall Mall, will retain the rights to the Natural American Spirit brand in the United States, but will sell the international rights and associated trademarks as part of the deal. The United States rights will be held by Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, a Reynolds American subsidiary.
The transaction came on the heels of Reynolds American, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., completing its $ 25 billion acquisition of its smaller tobacco rival Lorillard this year. The deal was agreed to last year, including selling some products to Imperial Tobacco Group of Britain to gain regulatory approval.
Susan M. Cameron, Reynolds American’s president and chief executive, said the sale would allow the company to focus on increasing the sales of its brands within the United States.
“We believe this sale once again demonstrates our commitment to creating value for our shareholders,” Ms. Cameron said in a news release.
Natural American Spirit is marketed as a premium, additive-free tobacco product and its largest markets internationally are Germany, Japan and Switzerland. About 280 people are employed at companies associated with the brand overseas, Reynolds said.
The transaction requires regulatory approval and is expected close in 2016.
Japan Tobacco has aggressively sought to increase the size of its business with international acquisitions.
In 1999, Japan Tobacco acquired the international operations of the cigarette brands of RJR Nabisco Holdings Corporation, including Camel and Winston, for about $ 8 billion.
The RJR Nabisco domestic tobacco business was later spun off, eventually becoming part of Reynolds American when its operations were merged with the United States business of Brown & Williamson.
In 2007, Japan Tobacco acquired Gallaher Group, the British maker of Benson & Hedges cigarettes, for about $ 15 billion.
“Natural American Spirit, which has a strong and international presence in a premium priced category, will allow the JT Group to further extend its brand portfolio,” Mitsuomi Koizumi, the Japan Tobacco president and chief executive, said in a news release.
“This strong and unique brand equity combined with an energetic and experienced team of people will further strengthen our group’s business foundation,” he added.
The brand has had strong growth internationally in Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, Japan Tobacco said.
The Natural American Spirit businesses being acquired had sales of about 17.6 billion yen, or $ 146 million, in 2014, Japan Tobacco said.
JPMorgan Chase and Lazard and the law firm Jones Day advised Reynolds American, while Japan Tobacco was advised by the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
An earlier version of the headline on this article misidentified the brand whose international rights Reynolds American agreed to sell to Japan Tobacco. It is Natural American Spirit, not National American Spirit.
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