Lorillard was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Carolina Group until 2006 and controlled by Loews Corporation, a holding company. On May 10, 2006, Loews Corporation sold 15 million shares of Carolina Group, lowering its holding from a controlling 53.7% to a plurality 46.3%. The sale is valued at approximately $740 million.
The company is named for its founder, Pierre Abraham Lorillard, who founded the company in 1760. In 1899, the American Tobacco Company organized a New Jersey corporation styled the Continental Tobacco Company that took a controlling interest in many small tobacco companies. By 1910, Lorillard was controlled by James Buchanan Duke and the American Tobacco Company even as it kept its original name. In 1911, the U.S. Court of Appeals found the American Tobacco Company "in restraint of trade," and issued a Dissolution Decree to the American Tobacco Company, which created the opportunity for Lorillard to be an independent company again.
In 1925, Lorillard experienced great transition as Benjamin Lloyd Belt became president. Having been with the company since 1911, Belt made some decisions that brought the company into profit. He began to promote the Old Gold brand instead of Beech-Nut. Belt was still president when he died in 1937.
Lorillard Tobacco Co. opened a brand new cigarette plant on East Market St. in Greensboro, NC in 1956, moving cigarette manufacturing from Jersey City, New Jersey, and later moved its headquarters from New York, New York to there in 1997. It also manufactured cigarettes at Louisville, Kentucky. In 1997, Lorillard was one of four entities to initiate negotiations leading to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement entered between "Big Tobacco" and 46 U.S. States.