LONDON — Grand Metropolitan PLC., a hotels, drinks and leisure group, said Wednesday that it is negotiating to sell Liggett Group Inc., its U.S. cigarette business.
"The negotiations are unlikely to be concluded for several weeks, and a further announcement will be made then," the company said.
Grand Metropolitan, however, did not say with whom it was negotiating.
Liggett, a subsidiary of Grandmet USA Inc., is based in Montvale, N.J.
A spokeswoman for the company's Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. unit in Durham, N.C., said the company had been trying to sell the cigarette business for some time.
"There were some questions regarding negotiations that were rumored to be going on in London, so they decided to make the announcement that negotiations were going on," said spokeswoman Carol Jova.
She said a leveraged buyout proposed several years ago by management and outside investors collapsed, and since then the company had been negotiating for a sale.