Corona beer owner spends £3bn to raise stake in cannabis firm Canopy

Canopy Growth

Canopy Growth reports quarterly earnings in-line with analyst expectations; net loss of C$90.9mln

It first invested in Canopy Growth past year, when it bought a 10% stake.

The alcohol firm wants to capitalise on the growing legalisation of the drug.

"Our business can now make the strategic investments required to accelerate our market position globally", Canopy chairman and co-chief executive Bruce Linton said in a statement. The alcoholic beverage company joins rivals, including Molson-Coors Brewing and Anheuser-Busch, in exploring business opportunities in the cannabis sector.

The Constellation deal comes as other alcohol companies have also started homing in on the cannabis industry.

Founded in 2013, Canopy is the market leader in cannabis in Canada, where the drug will soon be legally available nationwide to consume recreationally.

"With our unparalleled success in Canada and Europe, Spectrum Cannabis' expanding global operational footprint now covering 11 countries, our active regulatory and global market development efforts, as well as approvals to proceed with the first of many planned clinical trials of cannabis-based medical therapies for both humans and animals, our leadership position in worldwide medical cannabis markets continues to strengthen", said chairman and co-CEO Bruce Linton in a statement.

Canopy, based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, doesn't now have any operations south of the border, where marijuana is banned federally.

Canopy's stock soared 31.26 per cent on Wednesday, to close more than $10 higher at $42.20. In the case of Canopy Growth, the news proved to be overwhelmingly positive.

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But both companies said they have no plans to sell cannabis products in any market unless it is permitted at all applicable government levels.

As part of the partnership, Canopy has a services arrangement with Constellation to use its resources, which would help with a USA expansion once permitted, Linton added.

Canopy Growth, the largest publicly traded marijuana company, fell short of Wall Street's earnings expectations on Tuesday, but news of a new investment overshadowed the larger-than-expected loss.

Canopy, which has a presence in 11 markets around the world, said it would make global growth a priority.

Canopy's target acquisition list exceeds $1 billion for global assets and non-cultivation assets in Canada, Linton said.

The investment deal came as Canopy reported a loss of $80.3 million or 40 cents per share for the quarter ended June 30 as it continued to ramp up its operations ahead of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada later this year.

In Wednesday morning's announcement, the companies said that Constellation would fork over about 5 billion Canadian dollars to lift its ownership position in Canopy to 38% and get the right to appoint four directors to the weed merchant's seven-member board. That list will probably grow as new markets open up and the company can now make strategic investments with cash instead of "dilutive" shares, he said.

Constellation will also receive 139.7 million new warrants, which are exercisable over the next three years. If Constellation exercises all its existing and new warrants, it could increase its stake to more than 50 percent.

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