Opening Bell 12.10.18

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Puff, puff, path to diversification [The Water Coolest]

Altria plans to shell out $1.8B for a 45% stake in Cronos, a Canada-based cannabinoid company. Or for those less in tune with the "kids these days," Cronos is a Canadian pot peddler.

The investment will help Altria rely less heavily on its US-cigarette business which has been been on the decline (thanks a lot, truth!) and will allow the company to be at the forefront of devil's lettuce distribution if and when the Uncle Sam legalizes the sticky-icky federally.

For Cronos, besides the obvious upside of a $1.8B investment (additional R&D funding, infrastructure and distribution footprint expansion ... and in-office cigarette vending machines) the deal could allow the company to out duel competition like Canopy and Aurora.

Having a stable of heartless Altria lawyers and soulless lobbyists at its disposal will also help fight the good fight in the US. And the tobacco company formerly known as Philip Morris brings e-cig and vape knowledge to the table.

As part of the deal Altria will discontinue its MarkTen and Green Smoke e-cig brands. The Marlboro Man has an option to increase the deal to a 55% stake at $19 per share ... or roughly the price of a pack of cigarettes.

Altria to invest $1.8 billion in cannabis company Cronos Group, exits some e-cig brands [CNBC]

Seriously, cut it out [The Water Coolest]

OPEC and Russia have agreed to help curb the oil price drop that has been pummeling the market in recent months by cutting oil production. That's f*cking teamwork.

OPEC nations and Russia will combine for a 1.2M barrels per day decrease, with OPEC nations cutting two-thirds of the total (800k). This move is aimed at mopping up a growing global supply glut and reversing the 30% drop in oil prices.

Iran, Libya, Venezuela, and Nigeria were all given exemptions thanks to economic strife occurring in their respective countries, with Russia and Saudi Arabia taking the brunt of the pain as the two largest oil producers in the world. Brent crude was up as much as 5.2% to $63.11 per barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange on the news.

OPEC, Russia move closer to cutting oil output [BBC]

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