Altria May Delay Purchase of UST Amid Tight Credit..

October 4, 2008 - The $10.3 billion deal, would unite the Altria**, the parent of Philip Morris USA, the nation's biggest cigarette maker with UST Inc., the nation's largest smokeless tobacco company.

Altria said its lenders, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. asked it to wait until next year to try to raise the funds to complete the deal. These financial houses had previously committed to provide up to $7 billion in bridge loan financing for the deal. Altria declined to comment beyond its statement, which said that its lenders advised that it would be "preferable" to close the deal in 2009 (possibly early January 2009).

Related news briefs: UST to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Altria..; Altria in advanced talks to buy UST, Inc..; Altria will continue to test Marlboro Smokeless Tobacco Products.. and Any interest Lorillard to acquire Swedish Match - NOT.

Reference: Altria says lenders want UST deal pushed into 2009 by Jessica Wohl, Reuters, 10/3/2008 and Altria May Delay Purchase of UST Amid Tight Credit by PETER LATTMAN and LIZ RAPPAPORT, The Wall Street Journal, 10/4/2008.

** - Altria owns approximately 28.5% of SABMiller (South African Breweries - Miller) plc.