Altria Group, owner of cigarette maker Philip Morris and Kraft Foods, reiterated at its annual shareholders meeting yesterday that a breakup...

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Altria Group, owner of cigarette maker Philip Morris and Kraft Foods, reiterated at its annual shareholders meeting yesterday that a breakup of the company is imminent, dependent upon a more favorable environment regarding its involvement in tobacco-related litigation.

At the company’s annual meeting yesterday in East Hanover, N.J., Chairman and Chief Executive Louis Camilleri said Altria is pleased with the “positive trend” in favorable legal decisions regarding litigation against its Philip Morris USA unit and the rest of the industry.

The conventional thinking would have Altria splitting into three companies, freeing Kraft and Philip Morris International from being dragged down by the legal troubles of Philip Morris USA. In an April 5 report, Goldman Sachs analyst Judy Hong estimated the sum of Altria’s parts would be $86 per share.

Altria stock closed yesterday at $64.47 per share, a drop of 37 cents.

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