Well-Known Online Vape Company Purchased for $27 Million

    This week brought the first major acquisition of an online vaping retailer. Is it a positive thing for vaping?

    done deal

    A well-regarded online vaping retailer and wholesaler has been bought by a tobacco company. VaporBeast, which has been selling vapor products online for five years, has been acquired by Turning Point Brands for $27 million in cash and other considerations.

    VaporBeast had net income of $6.4 million over the last year, according to a press release. The Carlsbad, CA-based company has 48 employees. Known by vapers as a trustworthy online retail outlet, the company also has a thriving wholesale business, serving over 4,700 retail stores, primarily vape shops. The company will remain in California, according to founder Tim Campbell.

    Turning Point Brands is a publicly traded company (NYSE: TPB) based in Louisville, KY. Some of their brands include Zig-Zag, Beech-Nut, Stoker’s, Trophy, Havana Blossom, Durango, Our Pride, Red Cap, Primal, and V2Cigs. They make and sell smokeless and combustible tobacco products, and non-tobacco nicotine and non-nicotine products including e-cigs and shisha products.

    Turning Point’s strategy will include selling some of their other products through VaporBeast’s website, and using VaporBeast’s distribution platform to get vapor products into traditional retail outlets like convenience stores.

    Give it a chance

    Some vapers may be quick to judge VaporBeast for “selling out” to a tobacco company, but those people should consider the good that could come of this move. First, a well-respected online vaping seller will stay in business. And combining Turning Point’s strength in convenience stores with VaporBeast’s vapor products distribution ability will get quality independent vape gear and e-liquids into the hands of more smokers.

    Isn't helping smokers what we all want?

    Yes, Turning Point is a tobacco company, but they’re not “big” tobacco, and they don’t sell cigarettes. If this move helps people who would never visit a vape shop find ways to quit smoking, isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t helping smokers what we all want?

    Facing the post-deeming future without the benefits a larger organization offers is much more difficult. This merger may give VaporBeast an opportunity to survive, and even thrive, during and after the deeming process. Expect to see similar deals made by other medium- and large-sized vapor businesses.

    Jim McDonald
    Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy