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Sutherland's Tax Attorneys Represent Altria Group, Inc. in Agreement to Acquire John Middleton, Inc. for $2.9 Billion

November 1, 2007

WASHINGTON (November 1, 2007) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is pleased to announce that it represented Altria Group, Inc. as tax counsel in Altria's agreement to acquire John Middleton, Inc. for $2.9 Billion.  Altria, the owner of multiple tobacco companies, announced on November 1, it had entered into the agreement to acquire 100% of John Middleton, a leading manufacturer of machine-made large cigars.

Subject to necessary regulatory approvals, Altria anticipates that the transaction will be completed by year-end 2007.  According to Altria, the acquisition, which will be financed with existing cash, is expected to be modestly accretive to Altria's 2008 earnings and generate an attractive double-digit economic return.

"Our ability to handle the size and complexity of this deal demonstrates what makes Sutherland so renowned in tax," said Managing Partner Mark Wasserman.

The Sutherland team representing Altria was comprised of tax partner Cliff Muller, counsel David Roby and associate Jennifer Molnar.  For more than 70 years, Sutherland has established a global reputation in federal, state and local taxation.  By virtue of the size of the firm's tax practice and our varied client base, we are actively involved in almost every area of federal taxation, from planning the most complex corporate tax transactions to representing taxpayers before the IRS and in tax litigation.

About Altria
Altria is the parent company of Philip Morris International, Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris Capital Corporation.  In addition, Altria Group, Inc. has a 28.6% economic and voting interest in SABMiller. 

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is an AmLaw 100 law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the world's largest companies.  Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to approximately 500 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.  For further information about the firm, please visit


Target:  John Middleton, Inc.

Bidder:  Altria Group, Inc.

Value:   $2.9 Billion

Date Deal Announced:  November 1, 2007

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