Commonwealth Tobacco LLC, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Brands, is a small cigarette maker based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, specializing in low-priced, unadvertised brands. They are owned by the Imperial Tobacco Group of Great Britain.
As a result of the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company's purchase of the American Tobacco Company in 1994, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit with the federal court in Manhattan to stop the deal. An April, 1995 consent order required that to prevent antitrust violations, Brown & Williamson had 12 months to sell its Reidsville, North Carolina, plant and nine of the brands acquired in the American Tobacco purchase. After a failed attempt by the Lorillard Tobacco Company to buy the six discount brands of the nine, Brown and Williamson agreed to sell them to Commonwealth Brands (they being Montclair, Malibu, Riviera, Crown's, Special 10's and Bull Durham). B.A.T. and Brown & Williamson claimed that since Commonwealth was not one of the five major U.S. cigarette companies, it would meet requirements that Lorillard did not, particularly since Commonwealth would be more likely to compete as a discount manufacturer. The FTC approved the $36 million deal in October, 1996. (Brown and Williamson managed to retain the three premium brands [Tareyton, Silva Thins, and Tall] that the F.T.C. originally ordered to be sold off.)
- Brahman (Little Cigars)