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RJR to Acquire Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co.

SANTA FE, N.M. - Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company has signed a merger agreement with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., under which RJR will acquire 100 percent of the shares of Sante Fe for $340 million. The deal is expected to close in mid-January 2002, following the approval by both regulatory agencies and Sante Fe shareholders.

Word of the deal came last week, after the deadline for the New Mexico company to decide between offers from Reynolds and Canada's Rothmans Incorporated.

Santa Fe Natural, founded in 1982, employs about 115 people in New Mexico, 100 in its factory in Oxford and another 10 at a distribution center near Reno, Nev.

Its American Spirit cigarettes are made with organic tobacco and marketed in packages bearing the silhouette of a pipe-smoking American Indian in a feathered headdress.
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