Altria Group Inc., one of the world's biggest tobacco companies, is diving into the cannabis market with a $2.4 billion buy-in.
The Marlboro cigarette maker is taking a 45% stake in Cronos Group Inc., the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider said Friday.
Altria will pay an additional $1.4 billion for warrants that, if exercised, would give Altria a 55% ownership stake in the Toronto company.
That would put Altria's investment in the same league as the $4 billion spent this year by Constellation Brands to acquire shares of Canopy Growth Corp., another Canadian pot producer.
The August investment by Constellation, which makes Corona beer and other beverages, was the largest to date by a major U.S. corporation in the cannabis market.