Gene Simmons, best known for being the bassist and co-lead singer of the rock band Kiss and a reality TV star, is finally getting his own marijuana company – albeit with a catch.
Invictus Md Strategies (GENE) announced on Tuesday it had opened for trading on the TSX Venture Exchange and that the 68-year-old Simmons, the company’s Chief Evangelist Officer would be the inspiration for the new ticker symbol, GENE. The company’s previous ticker symbol was IMH.
“To have a cannabis company like Invictus open the trading at TSXV, one of the world’s best trading communities, is truly inspiring,” said Invictus Chairman and CEO Dan Kriznic in a statement. “With our footprint in Ontario and Alberta on track for full production over the next 12 months, and poised to help supply Canada’s dynamic consumer marketplace with a wide variety of strains and extracts.”
The company added that that the ticker symbol change was reflective of the company’s “new partnership with rock icon and branding genius Gene Simmons, anticipating that Simmons will play a vital role as the company marches into this historic year for Canada and cannabis.”
As part of his deal with Invictus, of which Simmons owns a significant percentage of, the legendary rocker will focus on a number of key initiatives, notably boosting its public awareness. Simmons will also make appearances for the company, specifically at the annual general meeting, investor meetings, trade shows, as well as serving as the company’s spokesperson.
Invictus has two cannabis production sites in Canada and more than 95,000 square feet of cannabis production capacity at the licensed production sites. It also owns 50 percent of AB Labs, a licensed producer in Hamilton, Ontario.
Simmons said that he had looked at other cannabis-related partnerships prior to working with the Canadian-based Invictus.
“As I learned more about the changing sentiment of the public and investors, I was enthusiastic to invest in the Cannabis space,” Simmons said. “I did my due diligence with the available information on the top 10 Licensed Cannabis Producers in Canada, including a number of face-to-face interviews,” said Simmons. “They have a leadership that has the potential to change that and a solid plan for growth.”
In a separate press release, Invictus described Simmons as a “significant shareholder” of the company, owning more than 2.6 million shares.
A business-savvy rockstar with an estimated net worth of $300 million, Simmons has helped Kiss license more than 2,500 different products, as well as helping sell more than 100 million albums. He’s also the author of two best-selling books, is credited with discovering the rock band Van Halen and is the owner of iconic MoneyBags trademark.
As part of his deal with Invictus, Simmons has agreed to appear at least 50 investor and industry presentations for Invictus over a 5-year period.