As Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA)(CSE: APHA) fights to restore full investor and market confidence over it’s Latin and South American acquisitions, the company has found itself with a potential takeover offer from another cannabis giant.
Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) announced yesterday that it was planning a hostile takeover of the company, offering a significant premium for existing Aphria shareholders. However, the company, which some short-sellers have speculated as being eager to accept a buyout, responded by calling the offer “inadequate” and “highly conditional” at best.
Green Growth Brands offered a 45.5 percent premium on share prices, where Aphria shareholders would receive 1.56 GGB shares for each APHA share their own. The offer, which GGB CEO Peter Horvath described as “creating value” to both companies, was shot down by Aphria, which felt the proposal didn’t adequately reflect the firm’s future value.
“While we appreciate GGB’s interest in the value we have created at Aphria and our significant growth prospects, their proposal falls short of rewarding our shareholders for participating in such as transaction. Further, the proposed offer is quite risky given GGB’s condition to complete a brokered financing at a price that is more than double the recent average of their share price, as a key term to the proposal,” said Aphria Chairman Irwin Simon. “The Board has determined that the GGB proposal, as it currently stands, significantly undervalues the company. Aphria has a tremendous market opportunity as a leader in the sector and a strategic vision to meet those opportunities. Our focus is to realize that value for the benefit of all our shareholders.”
Hindenburg Research, one of the short-sellers responsible for publishing the initial 30-page report evaluating Aphria’s LATAM acquisitions, responded to the proposal by calling it a “Highly Irregular Deal.” They went on to site that GGB’s second-largest shareholder happened to be a fund sponsored by Green Acre Capital, a firm that lists Aphria’s CEO Vic Neufeld as one of its directors.
Besides what they see as another insider conflict of interest, Hindenburg went on to say add that GGB was created this year, and despite having “almost no revenue or tangible assets” boasts a market cap of CA $890 million. In short, the analytics firm believes that “GGB is largely a worthless entity with numerous signs of Aphria related-party influence,” and that “This entire proposed deal strikes us as merely an epic next step of Aphria’s brazen shell game.”
Aphria shares climbed as much as 14 percent in today’s trading session, before losing some of their gains at a respectable 12.5 percent increase.
Green Growth Brands Company Profile
Green Growth brands expects to dominate the cannabis and CBD market with a portfolio of emotion-driven brands that people love. Led by renowned retailer Peter Horvath, the GGB team is full of retail renegades with decades of experience building successful brands. –Green Growth Brands
Aphria Inc Company Profile
Aphria is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to our people, product quality and innovation. Headquartered in Leamington, Ontario – the greenhouse capital of Canada – Aphria has been setting the standard for the low-cost production of safe, clean and pure pharmaceutical-grade cannabis at scale, grown in the most natural conditions possible. Focusing on untapped opportunities and backed by the latest technologies, Aphria is committed to bringing breakthrough innovation to the global cannabis market.
The Company’s portfolio of brands is grounded in expertly-researched consumer insights designed to meet the needs of every consumer segment. Rooted in our founders’ multi-generational expertise in commercial agriculture, Aphria drives sustainable long-term shareholder value through a diversified approach to innovation, strategic partnerships and global expansion, with a presence in more than 10 countries across 5 continents. –Aphria