Wealth Creation and Destruction from Brooke Group's Tobacco Litigation Strategy
We examine value creation and destruction in the tobacco industry due to the radical litigation strategy pursued by Brooke Group and its CEO, Bennett LeBow. Brooke Group has a tiny market share, low margins, high leverage, and a high concentration of management ownership.Beginning in 1996 the firm reached settlements in lawsuits brought against all cigarette companies by class action plaintiffs and U.S. state governments. Brooke Group's actions, which included promises to cooperate in litigation against its rivals, spurred other companies to reach settlements on less favorable terms. The settlements eventually led to massive wealth destruction within the tobacco industry but impressive returns for shareholders of Brooke Group.
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