Elliott backs Philip Morris's $16 billion Swedish Match takeover, Financial Times reports

Moist powder tobacco "snus" cans are seen on shelves at a Swedish Match store in Stockholm, Sweden October 24, 2018. Picture taken October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Anna Ringstrom/File Photo

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Activist investor Elliott Management Corp has decided to back Marlboro-maker Philip Morris International's (PMI) (PM.N) $16 billion offer for Swedish Match AB (SWMA.ST), the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Elliott has tendered its shares in the Swedish target, the FT said, bringing PMI closer to the 90% threshold required for forced redemption of remaining minority stakeholders.

PMI's offer had received more than 80% shareholder acceptance at the latest count on Friday and more could be processed on Monday, the FT reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The deadline for shareholders to tender shares expired on Friday at 1600 GMT.

U.S. investor Elliott, PMI and Swedish Match declined to comment.

Elliott has been building its stake in Swedish Match for months, reaching more than 10% in October. Bloomberg News reported in July, that Elliott was building a stake but was opposed to a PMI deal at the original offer of 106 Swedish crowns ($9.73) per share.

PMI launched its bid for the maker of tobacco and oral nicotine products in May before raising the offer to 116 crowns last month after Swedish Match shares consistently traded above the original bid price.

United States-based PMI does not currently trade in its home market, but Swedish Match has been expanding fast in America.

Swedish Match controls about half the world's market for snus - a moist, smoke-free snuff - but one of its fastest-growing products is its tobacco-free “ZYN” nicotine pouches.

($1 = 10.8952 Swedish crowns)

Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru and Marie Mannes in Gdansk Editing by David Goodman

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