While much of the focus in the cannabis sector is currently centered on players positioning themselves in anticipation of US expansion, a small Canadian marijuana company, Organigram Holdings, just struck a deal with British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI), which announced it has taken an almost 20% stake in the cannabis grower. The move, valued at $221 million, will include the two companies working together on a new research and development center to create new cannabis-infused products. BTI Weekly BAT is the third major tobacco company to invest in a Canadian marijuana grower. Altria Group (NYSE:MO), the parent company of Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, holds a US $1.8-billion stake in Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON), while Imperial Brands (OTC:IMBBY) (formerly Imperial Tobacco), the British company that ranks as the fourth largest international cigarette company, has struck a deal with Auxly Cannabis Group (OTC:CBWTF) (TSXV:XLY), a small Vancouver-based cannabis producer. According to media reports, Organigram CEO Greg Engle claims BAT’s investment in his company will be a game-changer, providing production innovation, while expanding its international reach. Tilray Jumps On News Of Date For Shareholder Vote Is it a sign of what is to come for Tilray? At least in the short term, perhaps. Tilray Daily The cannabis grower’s stock jumped 10.5% yesterday to close at $30.47 on news the company will hold a stockholders’ meeting Apr. 16 to approve the proposed merger with Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA). Likewise, Aphria stock received an almost 11% bump on the same news. Aphria stockholders will vote Apr. 14. Once approved, the deal will create the world’s largest cannabis company. The combined business, according to the results of each company prior to the date of the announcement, will have an expected revenue of US$686 million (C$874 million). The new company, which will operate under the Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) name, will have the “strategic footprint and operational scale necessary to compete more effectively in today's consolidating cannabis market with a strong, flexible balance sheet, strong cash balance and access to capital,” according, to an official statement. The new Canadian-based company will also be well positioned in Europe, with a distribution network in Germany and production facilities in Portugal and Germany. In the United States, the new company will have a strong consumer packaged goods presence, with its SweetWater, cannabis lifestyle branded craft brewer, and Manitoba Harvest, a pioneer in branded hemp, CBD and wellness products that are sold in 17,000 stores across North America. And, of course, when federal legislation removes barrier to operation across the US, the new company will be well-positioned to compete in the largest cannabis market in the world. In other Tilray news, the company last week received the necessary approval from New Zealand to launch branded medical cannabis products in that country. It is the first medical cannabis approval issued in the country down under.
British American Tobacco Moving Into Canadian Cannabis Market