GREENSBORO, N.C., June 11 (UPI) -- The Loews Corp. has spun off its profitable Lorillard, exposing the Greensboro, N.C., tobacco company to a takeover, analysts said.
Lorillard, which produces Newports, the second best selling cigarette brand, began trading shares Tuesday, The New York Times reported.
Business magnates Laurence Tisch and Preston Tisch purchased Lorillard for $450 million in 1968. Since then, although linking the Tisch family name to a cancer-causing product, the investment has paid off substantially.
"Loews' overall profit, excluding dividends, approximates $10 billion," financial analyst with J.P. Morgan Erik Bloomquist told the Times.
Family member James Tisch has said Loews is focusing on energy and its original business -- hotels -- rather than cigarettes, but there is evidence the family has never been happy with its connection to tobacco, the Times reported.
"I think the whole family was uncomfortable" with tobacco, said former federal health secretary Joseph Califano Jr., who has known the family for decades.