WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Monday it dismissed a complaint against Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group and e-cigarette maker Juul Labs that was brought after Altria bought a 35% stake in Juul.

The agency also said it would vacate an FTC administrative law judge’s decision in favor of the companies in February 2022. Since it has been vacated, it cannot be cited as precedent, the agency said in the statement announcing it was dropping the litigation.

The FTC said in 2020 that Altria’s $12.8 billion investment violated antitrust law because the company acquired the position rather than continuing to compete against Juul in the market for closed-system e-cigarettes.

Altria had exited the stake in March and had asked the FTC to drop the challenge. As of December, its share of Juul was valued at $250 million, down from $12.8 billion in 2018.

Altria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Separately from the FTC action, Juul has fought with the Food and Drug Administration over whether it could sell e-cigarettes in the U.S.

Altria’s MarkTen was at one point the second most popular e-cigarette maker, according to the FTC.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Kanishka Singh in WashingtonEditing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)

Brought to you by www.srnnews.com