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How Acreage, Canopy intend to create a 'global player' in cannabis

Donovan Russo

Acreage Holdings’ (ACRGF) CEO Kevin Murphy and Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC) chief Bruce Linton have high ambitions for their massive merger proposal in the booming market for legal pot.

For Acreage, one of the strongest appeals of this deal is Canopy’s global reach, which is now conducting 60 clinical activities, owns 90 plus patents, and has another 200 plus patents filed. Currently, the company is looking to create more IP for the cannabis industry as a whole.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, the executives got specific about their tie-up, and — if approved by shareholders and regulators — the potential for bigger profits as a combined company.

“Every smart business man knows that they need good partnership to lead a good prosperity,” said Murphy.

“From our advantage point, we were humble enough to know that being the dominant player… that we wanted ultimately to be a global player,” he added.

‘Just heating up’

Shareholder votes are slated for mid June, and the merger is contingent upon the Federal government legalizing cannabis within the next 7.5 years.

If the deal is approved on both fronts, Canopy will formally acquire Acreage Holdings — gaining access to its 20 state licenses. In addition, Canopy will pay Acreage shareholders $300 million.

The merger’s timing comes as the market for legal marijuana heats up, and is projected to grow by nearly 24% by 2025, according to Grandview Research.

“The rest of the world after Canada is just heating up,” Linton told Yahoo Finance.

“So we need to be able to turn our activities up in Europe. And when we spend the money, Kevin and his team have access to it,” he added. “So then they end up having a deeper pool of benefits that we can license down for no value.”

Seizing on the momentum, other Cannabis companies have merged as well. Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF) acquired Select for nearly $950 million. Combined, the two companies reported $205 million in revenue in 2018. And in April, Cresco Labs (CRLBF) acquired CannaRoyalty (ORHOF) for $825 million.

Both Canopy and Acreage will look to build off each other as the legal cannabis market continues to expand.

“We didn’t have designs on the globe before Bruce and I had gotten together,” Murphy said. “This now gives us the opportunity to do just that and really to secure our place in history.”

Editor’s note: Curaleaf Holdings acquired Select for nearly $950 million.

Donovan Russo is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him @Donovanxrusso.

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