(Reuters) – U.S. cannabis retailer Green Growth Brands Ltd (GGB.CD) said on Thursday it would make a hostile takeover bid for Aphria Inc (APHA.TO) in an all-stock deal valuing the Canadian pot producer at C$2.8 billion ($2.06 billion).
Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld poses near a wall covering of a marijuana leaf at a party the day before Canada’s legalization of recreational cannabis in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
Several companies are looking to partner with or buy pot firms to explore opportunities in the Canadian cannabis sector after the country legalized recreational use of marijuana in October.
Green Growth would offer 1.5714 shares for each Aphria share, representing a premium of 45.5 percent over Aphria’s closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Dec. 24. The offer is based on a valuation of C$7.00 per Green Growth share.
Aphria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Green Growth said its advisers reached out to Aphria last week after a meeting with the company and after having taken a tour of its facilities earlier this year.
Green Growth then arranged a call with the Aphria board that included a presentation laying out their offer, Green Growth CEO Peter Horvath told Reuters, adding that the company did not hear back from Aphria.
The rationale underlying the bid was recent market declines which also hit the cannabis sector. Among Green Growth’s strengths are a U.S. market footprint and experience, and its $54 million in trailing 12-month revenue already outstrips Aphria’s, Horvath said.
Green Growth said its retail strength and