After months in limbo, multiple media sources report Winston-Salem-based Reynolds American Inc. >will purchase Greensboro-based Lorillard Inc.

But —as Richard reports in the Winston-Salem Journal— “the purchase details have several twists that analysts and industry observers did not foresee.”

Though Reynolds is buying Lorillard and its top-selling Newport menthol brand, it is not taking with it blu eCigs, the top-selling electronic cigarette in the United States. That will go to Imperial, along with Reynolds’ cigarette brands Kool, Salem and Winston, and Lorillard’s Maverick brand, along with other unnamed assets.

Imperial also would gain Lorillard’s Greensboro manufacturing plant and research and development operations and take over Lorillard’s workforce of 2,900.

That development should hearten Triad economic officials because the deal avoids the likelihood of hundreds of jobs being eliminated if Reynolds was buying Lorillard’s operations.

Lorillard’s stock fell $3.62 to $63.60 in premarket trading. Reynolds’ stock fell $1.58 to $61.60.