Cannabis companies are achieving mainstream milestone after milestone and Canada’s legal industry deserves a ton of the credit. We’ve already seen large alcohol companies invest in the marijuana market, as well as Canada’s largest grocery chains, and two Canadian cannabis companies (Canopy Growth and Cronos) listed on the United States stock markets. Now, another financial landmark has been met as Canadian cannabis company Tilray is set to be the first marijuana IPO in the United States, with a listing on the NASDAQ (Canopy Growth and Cronos weren’t technically IPO, according to Investor’s Business Daily).
If you need a primer on IPO, here’s Investopedia:
An initial public offering, or IPO, is the very first sale of stock issued by a company to the public. Prior to an IPO the company is considered private, with a relatively small number of shareholders made up primarily of early investors (such as the founders, their families and friends) and professional investors (such as venture capitalists or angel investors). The public, on the other hand, consists of everybody else – any individual or institutional investor who wasn’t involved in the early days of the company and who is interested in buying shares of the company. Until a company’s stock is offered for sale to the public, the public is unable to invest in it. You can potentially approach the owners of a private company about investing, but they’re not obligated to sell you anything. Public companies, on the other hand, have sold at least a portion of their shares to the public to be traded on a stock exchange. This is why an IPO is also referred to as “going public.”
Bill Peters, writing for Investor’s Business Daily, reported that Tilray will be traded on the NASDAQ under the listing “TLRY” and that the company will be looking to expand significantly throughout the European Union, especially Germany:
Tilray last week said it would offer 9 million shares with an expected price range of $14-$16 apiece, an offering that could raise as much as $144 million. The company declined to make someone available for an interview ahead of the planned IPO, saying it was in a quiet period before the offering.
Regulatory disclosures say the IPO would help fund the company’s plans to expand cultivation resources, sales and marketing efforts. The IPO money could also go toward potential acquisitions and investments down the road.
Tilray said it expects the European Union to eventually become the world’s biggest medical marijuana market. The company based that prediction on the availability of medical pot via government-subsidized health care in the region. Eleven of the 28 EU member nations, Tilray said, have OK’d the use of medical marijuana.
Tilray said Germany was “the largest market opportunity in the European Union in the near term.” Germany, which legalized medical marijuana last year, has a population and a GDP that are more than two times that of Canada’s, Tilray said.
I remember meeting Tilray’s VP of Patient Research and Access, Philippe Lucas, whose activism I long admired from afar, at the very first International Cannabis Business Conference in Portland, Oregon, back in 2014, and it is amazing to see the growth of Tilray and the cannabis industry in general, especially in Canada, since then. While many are rightly concerned about the impact of big-monied interests moving into a market, but so long as companies don’t advocate for unfair business advantages or push for draconian sentences, competition can be a good thing for the cannabis community.
Maybe we’ll see Tilray share how their EU investments are moving forward in future ICBCs in Barcelona or Berlin. At the rate the cannabis industry is advancing, we can expect more companies matching the financial maneuvers of Tilray, Cronos and Canopy Growth as more mainstream investors migrate into the exciting burgeoning industry.