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Philip Morris to de-list Swedish Match after raising stake to 93%

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Moist powder tobacco "snus" cans are seen on shelves at a Swedish Match store in Stockholm

By Marie Mannes

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Philip Morris International (PMI) said on Monday it now owned a big enough stake in Swedish Match to initiate a compulsory redemption of remaining shares in its Swedish peer and would take it off the stock market.

Marlboro maker PMI in May launched a $16 billion takeover bid for the Swedish tobacco and nicotine products company.

"We are delighted to have obtained over 90% ownership of Swedish Match, allowing us to initiate a minority redemption process to acquire the remaining shares outstanding and request the delisting of the company from the stock market,” PMI Chief Executive Jacek Olczak said in a statement.

Buying Swedish Match, with its popular wet snuff "snus" products and tobacco-free nicotine "ZYN" pouches, will aid PMI in its stated ambition to move away from health-harming cigarettes and eventually become a smoke-free company.

"This transaction marks a major milestone in accelerating our shared objective of a smoke-free future," Olczak said.

PMI's initial offer of 106 Swedish crowns ($10.21) per share met stiff resistance from activist investor Elliott Management and other shareholders and the bid was later raised to 116 crowns.

Elliott and the rest of the top 10 shareholders all decided to tender their shares after the bid was raised and PMI had secured over 83% approval by the end of the initial offer period in early November.

Shortly afterwards, the remaining opponents of the deal, who included Framtiden, with a roughly 1% stake, and Bronte Capital, which owned less than 1%, also tendered their shares.

Swedish Match was not immediately available for comment.

($1 = 10.3774 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Marie Mannes and Anna Ringstrom, editing by Essi Lehto and Susan Fenton)