Nine state attorneys general are nearing announcement of a proposed settlement with several tobacco companies that would end state lawsuits in return for cash payments and the companies' agreement to limits on future advertising. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Gary Black said a deal could be announced this week and call for ad restrictions beyond anything negotiated so far by individual states. Philip Morris Cos. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. would agree to cease cigarette brand event sponsorship, end the use of cartoon characters in their ads and accept curbs on outdoor ads and giveaways of merchandise containing tobacco brand symbols, restrictions that are already part of a tobacco company settlement with the state of Minnesota. Not immediately clear was whether two other major tobacco product marketers that dropped out of the talks--R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.--would agree to the deal or what would happen to the deal if other state attorneys general chose not to accept it. Attorneys general had been seeking a ban on all giveaways.
Copyright September 1998, Crain Communications Inc.