Marlboro parent to float food business

PHILIP MORRIS, the owner of Ferrari sponsor Marlboro, is to float its food business Kraft Foods Inc. for around $8.7bn. After the sell-off Phillip Morris will own 49.5% of the company but will retain most of the voting rights. The move is a further step in the isolation of the tobacco business in the United States, following the flurry of legal actions in recent years. Phillip Morris has been a US-owned tobacco business since 1919 but diversified in the 1970s and 1980s into the brewing and food industries, buying the massive Miller company and Kraft, a company which owns dozens of well-known food brands around the world.

The splitting up of tobacco and the food business is not a surprise and comes after rival company RJ Reynolds has embarked on a similar strategy.

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