Philip Morris USA
The company's namesake Philip Morris was born in Whitechapel, United Kingdom in 1835, the son of a recent immigrant from Germany who had taken the name Bernard Morris. In 1847, the family opened a shop in London. The first cigarettes that Philip Morris made were in 1854 and were known as "Philip Morris English Ovals," a non-filter brand of oval-shaped cigarettes that were manufactured in very limited quantities until discontinuation in 2017.
In 1902, Philip Morris & Co. Ltd. was incorporated in New York City. George J. Whelan bought the American division of the company in 1919 and created Philip Morris & Co. Ltd., Inc., along with fellow shareholders Reuben M. Ellis and Leonard B. McKitterick.
In 1929, the company made its first cigarettes in Richmond, using an existing factory the company purchased. In 1933, this factory was racially integrated more than 30 years before the law required it. In 1938, the company offered preferred stock to ordinary buyers.
From 1951 to 1955, Philip Morris sponsored the CBS sitcom "I Love Lucy", with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz pitching the product often, and Philip Morris controlling the content of the program. In 1955, Philip Morris became an alternate sponsor with Procter & Gamble, eventually bowing out altogether by the end of that year.
In 1970, Philip Morris made the first of several acquisitions with the purchase of Miller Brewing Company. In 1985, Philip Morris Companies Inc. became a holding company and the parent of Philip Morris Inc. and bought General Foods. The acquisition of Kraft Foods came in 1988, after which Kraft and General Foods became Kraft General Foods.
Although it had begun investing in the homebuilder by 1969, Philip Morris purchased Southern California's Mission Viejo Company in its entirety for $52 million during 1972. Philip Morris continued to hold on to this investment until 1997, finally selling the division off to J.F. Shea Company.
In 1976, Marlboro became the leading brand in the U.S.; Morris operated as the largest seller of tobacco in the U.S. and the second-largest in the world.
In the fall of 2003, Philip Morris USA moved its headquarters from New York City to Richmond, Virginia. On March 30, 2007, the remaining 88.9% stake in Kraft Foods was spun off to shareholders. Philip Morris International was split from Philip Morris USA in March 2008. This has caused a drop in the needed cigarette production due to no need for export product. Philip Morris shut down its Concord, North Carolina, manufacturing facility in 2010 and moved all domestic production to Richmond, which now contains the largest Philip Morris plant in the world, producing 146 billion cigarettes in 2010.
Philip Morris USA brands include Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Benson & Hedges, Merit, Parliament, Alpine, Basic, Cambridge, Bucks, Dave's, Chesterfield , Collector's Choice, Commander, Lark, L&M, Players. As of the 27 of December, 2018, Philip Morris also owns a minority stake in JUUL.
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