Altria took a $4.1 billion hit on its investment in Juul Labs in the fourth quarter of last year, making its stake in the e-cigarette maker worth just a third of its initial value.
Virginia-based Altria blamed the latest writedown, revealed Thursday, on the growing number of lawsuits against Juul, which has come into regulators’ cross hairs amid mounting health concerns about vaping.
The new charge and another $4.5 billion writedown Altria disclosed in October brought the value of its Juul investment to just $4.2 billion as of Dec. 31 — just about a year after it bought a 35 percent stake in Juul for $12.8 billion.
Juul has drawn fire from lawmakers and regulators for its efforts to market its vaping products to young people. The criticisms have come amid a rise in youth vaping and an outbreak of a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping.
A Juul spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Altria’s writedown.