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LONDON: US cigarette giant Philip Morris said Friday that it has agreed to buy Vectura, a UK company making breathing inhalers, as part of a push into healthcare.

The Marlboro-maker will pay 150 pence per share in cash, valuing Vectura at £1.0 billion ($1.4 billion, 1.2 billion euros), the pair said in a statement.

The deal trumped a £958-million bid from private equity firm Carlyle that was agreed in May.

Philip Morris said Friday’s move was part of its expansion “beyond tobacco and nicotine” and into “a broader healthcare and wellness company”.

The group had in February identified respiratory drug delivery as a key focus, under broader plans to generate at least $1.0 billion in annual net revenues from nicotine-free products by 2025.

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