Altria And UST Wait For ’09

Altria Group Inc. and UST Inc. said they’ve amended their September 2008 agreement where Altria has agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of UST.

The amendment sets forth Altria’s and UST’s agreement to extend, at Altria’s option, the closing date of the transaction to a date no later than early January 2009, as long as all conditions for the closing are met prior to the end of 2008.

Altria has fully committed financing to complete the transaction, but the company’s lenders said it would be preferable to close the deal in 2009. The two parties also agreed to increase a “reverse termination fee” from $200 million to $300 million under certain circumstances detailed in the amendment.

In addition to the regulatory review process, the transaction’s completion remains subject to UST shareholder approval.

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