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Cannabis retailer Harvest Health makes $850 million all-stock acquisition

Max A. Cherney

Harvest Health and Recreation Inc. said Monday that it plans to buy rival cannabis company Verano Holdings LLC for $850 million in stock. Harvest Health trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange and over the counter in the U.S. and went public in November on the CSE. Harvest Health's over the counter stock surged more than 12% in Monday trading. In a press release, Harvest Health said the acquisition cost was based on its share price of $C8.79 ($6.55) and that upon completion the deal it would operate 30 retail stores, eight grow sites and seven manufacturing facilities. Harvest Health has aggressive growth plans and said in the release by the end of 2019, it will have 70 shops, 13 pot farms and 13 manufacturing facilities. Sol Global Investments Corp. has a 15% stake in Verano, which Sol says is worth $127.5 million. Sol Global's chief investment officer and chairman of the board is Andy DeFrancesco, who short sellers Hindenburg Research and Quintessential Capital Management allege was involved with a pump and dump scheme related to Canada-based Aphria Inc.