August 19, 2019 / 10:28 AM / 2 months ago

Juul raises $325 million in equity and debt financing for global expansion

FILE PHOTO: Juul brand vaping pens are seen for sale in a shop in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., February 6, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(Reuters) - U.S. e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc has raised $325 million in an equity and debt offering to speed up its global reach at a time of intense regulatory scrutiny in its home market.

The company did not break out the ratio of equity and debt offered, but a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Juul sold convertible debt in a bridge financing to bolster its balance sheet.

Juul, 35% owned by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc, has over the past year focused its efforts on growing outside the United States, as American regulators increase oversight of e-cigarette products that are wildly popular among teenagers.

The company launched its products in South Korea, Philippines and Indonesia at around the same time the city of San Francisco, where Juul is headquartered, approved an ordinance to ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes until manufacturers get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In July, a U.S. federal court ordered e-cigarette companies to submit applications to the FDA within 10 months to remain in the market, instead of in 2022.

The latest funding round comes a year after Juul, which launched its products in 2015, raised about $1.25 billion to fund its explosive growth. Last December, it received about $12.5 billion from Altria for a stake in the company.

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru and Chris Kirkham in Los Angeles; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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