RESOURCES | Cannabis Security | Securities Update

Cannabis-Linked Securities Update February 2021 | CRB Monitor



James B. Francis, CFA
| Managing Director of Publicly Traded Securities Research, CRB Monitor

CRB Monitor tracks nearly 1,300 publicly-traded, Cannabis-Related Businesses (CRBs) globally, which have 1,500+ traded securities.  We categorize CRBs into our proprietary cannabis risk tier framework and cannabis-based sectors.  CRB Monitor also unravels and maintains complex corporate structures, linking publicly-traded parent companies to their underlying operational plant-touching subsidiaries. Custodian banks, broker/dealers, and asset managers find our data essential for pre-trade compliance, risk management, index construction, and portfolio analytics. 

CRB Monitor Securities Updates 

Source: CRB Monitor

Cannabis Securities News Highlights

Given ongoing pressure coming from the electorate, the need for new revenue, or perhaps simple fear of being left out, currently all but three states (Nebraska, Kansas, and Idaho) have policies that declare some form of cannabis to be legal at the state level.

What's Currently Legal

Number of States

Medical Only

19

Medical & Recreational

17

CBD/Low Level THC Only

12

No Policy

3

Total (includes DC)

51

 

And accompanying this evolution at the state level has been a continuation of cannabis-related M&A activity. M&A activity really got going toward the end of the 4th quarter of 2020 with the announcement of Tier 1A Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX: WEED)’s sale of its subsidiary, Tier 1B RIV Capital Inc. (TSX: RIV), to RIV’s shareholders in exchange for cash and RIV’s holdings in three CRBs. The deals kept getting larger in the month of January, led by Tier 1B Tilray, Inc. (Nasdaq: TLRY)’s reverse takeover of Tier 1A Aphria Inc. (TSX: APHA) in a merger that would make the combined entity the largest revenue-generating company in the cannabis space.

Which brings us to February, when the cannabis news cycle kept investors on the edge of their seats once again. Early in the month, we were treated to the announcement of Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ takeover of GW Pharmaceuticals, in a deal worth $7.2 billion. Tier 1A GW Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: GWPH), the gold standard for biotech in the medical cannabis industry, is the original manufacturer of Epidiolex, a treatment for epilepsy and the only FDA-approved cannabis-derived pharmaceutical product on the market. In this deal, GWPH shareholders will exchange their ADRs for a combination of cash and shares of Tier 1B Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ). When this deal was announced, GWPH ADRs were trading at a deep discount to JAZZ shares, and investors immediately arbitraged away the mispricing and GWPH finished the month up more than 40%.

Also announced in February was the acquisition of licensed Tier 1A cannabis producer Zenabis Global Inc. (TSX: ZENA) by Tier 1B Hexo Corp. (TSX: HEXO) in an all-share transaction worth $235 million. With this transaction, HEXO anticipates having immediate access to European markets for medical cannabis through ZenPharm, a Zenabis subsidiary that has penetrated the medical market in Germany.

Of the thousands of news releases and regulatory filings reviewed in February 2021, our research resulted in a total of 433 updates to the CRB Monitor database (86 updates to issuers’ records, 347 news releases added). The complete list of securities and detail for these updates is available to CRB Monitor Securities database clients, but below are highlights.

Select M&A/Subsidiary Highlights

Name

Ticker Symbol

CRBM Tier

Event

Trulieve Cannabis Corp.

CSE: TRUL

Tier 1B

Trulieve Selected and Approved for Dispensary Permits in West Virginia

GW Pharmaceuticals plc

NASDAQ: GWPH

Tier 1A

Jazz Pharmaceuticals to Acquire GW Pharmaceuticals plc, Creating an Innovative, High-Growth, Global Biopharma Leader

Halo Collective Inc.        

NEO: HALO

Tier 1B

Halo Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire two Additional LA Dispensary License Applicants and is on Track to Open First Ever Flowershop(tm) Dispensary in Partnership with G-Eazy

SOL Global Investments Corp.

CSE: SOL

Tier 1B

SOL Global Investments Corp. Finalizes Divestitures of Securities in Bluma Wellness Inc.

HEXO Corp.

TSX: HEXO

Tier 1B

HEXO Corp. to acquire Zenabis Global Inc.

Ceres Acquisition Corp.

NEO: CERE.U

Tier 2

Parallel and Ceres Acquisition Corp. Announce Business Combination to Create a Publicly Traded U.S. Cannabis Well-Being Company

Sugarmade, Inc.

OTCQB: SGMD

Tier 1B

Sugarmade Closes Definitive Agreement to Acquire Majority Stake in Nug Avenue, Entering the Hyper-Growth Los Angeles Cannabis Delivery Market

SLANG Worldwide Inc.

CSE: SLNG

Tier 1A

SLANG Worldwide to Expand Into Multiple Limited License Markets Through New Strategic Partnership and Announces $10M Financing to Fuel Growth

Pure Harvest Corporate Group, Inc.

OTCQB: PHCG

Tier 1A

Pure Harvest Corporate Group Acquires Four Patents in Multiple Verticals

 

Security/Exchange Highlights:  

Name/Ticker Symbol

Ticker Symbol

Event Type

Result

Halo Collective Inc.

OTCQX: HCANF

Name Change

Halo Announces OTCQX Ticker Symbol Change to HCANF

Stem Holdings, Inc.

OTCQX: STMH

Listing Change

Stem Holdings Announces All Common Shares of 'DRVD' will Trade Under symbol 'STMH' on February 4, 2021

Ayr Wellness Inc.

CSE: AYR.A

Name Change

Ayr Strategies Announces Corporate Name Change to Ayr Wellness 

RIV Capital Inc.

TSX: RIV

Listing Change

Rivers Shareholders Approve Plan of Arrangement with Canopy Growth

RIV Capital Inc.

TSX: RIV

Listing Change

RIV Capital Closes Plan of Arrangement Involving Canopy Growth, Paving Way for Entry Into U.S. Market

Subversive Acquisition LP

 

NEO: SVX.U

Name Change

Subversive Highlights InterCure's Q4 Estimated Unaudited Results and Provides Update on TSX Listing and Name Change

 

Risk Tier/Inclusion Updates in CRB Monitor:

Name

Ticker Symbol

Action

Reason

4Cable TV International, Inc.

OTC Pink: CATV

Upgrade –Tier 2 to Tier 1B

Acquired Tier 1A CRB - CIGN LLC

 

Select New Additions to CRB Monitor:

Name

Ticker Symbol

CRBM Tier

CRBM Cannabis Sector

British American Tobacco PLC

NYSE: BTI

Tier 3

Food, Beverage & Tobacco

Agritek Holdings Inc.

OTC PINK: AGTK

Tier 2

Real Estate, Online Wholesale & Retail

ADSLOT LTD.

ASX: ADS

Tier 3

Media & Publishing

APPlife Digital Solutions Inc.

OTCQB: ALDS

Tier 3

Online Wholesale & Retail

Integrated Financial Holdings, Inc.

OTC PINK: IFHI

Tier 3

Financial Services

 

Cannabis-Linked Equity Performance

Cannabis-linked securities surged once again in February and extended their gains from January. With the January GameStop debacle fresh in investors’ minds, we witnessed an early February spike that reminded us that no industry is safe from irrational price behavior, particularly one with the vulnerabilities of the cannabis space. CRBs steadily surged early in the month before a significant spike around February 10th (see chart below). A number of Tier 1 companies posted triple-digit returns before crashing back to earth in an apparent short squeeze, not unlike what we saw with GameStop a few weeks earlier. Tilray, Inc. (Nasdaq: TLRY) has famously been one of those vulnerable companies, with a volatile performance history and a reputation as sometimes impossible to borrow (and therefore a settlement challenge). TLRY soared at the beginning of February, with the stock rising 234% by February 10th, before it’s dramatic fall over the next few trading days and then closing up 34.6% for the month. (It is worth noting that the price of Tier 1A CRB Aphria (TSX: APHA) is now moving, both in direction and magnitude, similar to its acquirer TLRY, and when this deal closes the resulting company will be APHA.) 

The largest cannabis-linked company by market cap, Canopy Growth (TSX: WEED), was lifted by the early February cannabis short squeeze, up by more than 30% by February 10th. But with little good news or fundamentals to support its price, Canopy had a precipitous fall and closed out the month down more than 18%, giving back a significant portion of its January gains. This drop could have been attributed to bleak Q3 financials, that reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of CAD 68.4 million for the quarter ended 12/31/2020.  With that said, new CEO David Klein delivered a bold, positive forecast for year end, which apparently was not enough to rescue the stock from its precipitous fall which followed.

Finally, we were not surprised at the performance of GW Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: GWPH), which closed out the month up 40% following the announcement of its $7.2 billion acquisition by Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ). JAZZ’s price for GWPH shareholders, which was a combination of cash and JAZZ stock, was well in excess of GWPH at the time of the announcement, and investors were happy to buy GWPH until it was pricing consistent with the deal value. (Not surprisingly, the discount was approximately 40% relative to the tender value.)

In spite of their extreme volatility during the month, the CRB Monitor Top 10 Tier 1 cannabis-linked equities added 17.9% in February on an equally-weighted basis, significantly outperforming major equity indexes (US large cap, International, Emerging Markets).

CRB Monitor “Top 10” Tier 1 Cannabis Companies 

Source: CRB Monitor, Sentieo

Source: CRB Monitor, Sentieo

CRBs In the News

February 2021 was a continuation of a busy news cycle for publicly-traded cannabis-linked companies. The following is a sampling of highlights  from the February 2021 cannabis news cycle, as tracked by CRB Monitor. Included are CRB Monitor’s proprietary Risk Tiers

Wondering what a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 CRB is?

See our seminal ACAMS Today white paper Defining "Marijuana-Related Business" and its update Defining "Cannabis-Related Business"

Interested in learning more about the CRB Monitor Securities Database? Visit our website to request more information and to get in touch with our team.

The information provided herein presents general information and should not be relied on as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding a fact, please consult with competent legal counsel about the facts and laws that apply.

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