Today MTech Acquisition Corp. and MJ Freeway LLC announced the completion of their merger to form the Akerna Corp. MTech Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: MTEC), the first US-listed Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) focused on acquiring a business ancillary to the cannabis industry, and MJ Freeway, a leading seed-to-sale regulatory compliance technology provider and developer of the cannabis industry’s first enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, has now become the first compliance technology company in the cannabis space to be traded on Nasdaq. Jessica Billingsley also becomes the first female CEO from the cannabis industry to lead a company that will trade on the exchange.
“As legalization of cannabis expands across the world, we believe it is imperative that businesses, patients, consumers, and governments have the tracking and compliance technology they need to make informed decisions and comply with applicable regulations. We believe Akerna is well suited to meet these needs with the ability to scale rapidly across the world and offer a robust and innovative platform for growing industry demands,” stated MJ Freeway Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer Jessica Billingsley.
In addition to her role as CEO, Billingsley also serves on the Akerna Board of Directors and is joined by senior leadership from MTech: Scott Sozio, Tahira Rehmatullah and Douglas Rothschild. The Board of Directors of Akerna also includes Emery Huang, Matt Kane, and Mark D. Iwanowski, who were formerly members of MJ Freeway’s Board of Directors. Roger McNamee, who served as senior advisor to MJ Freeway’s Board of Directors, will act as Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors of Akerna.
The business combination between the two companies was approved at a meeting of MTech stockholders today. In connection with the transaction, MTech and MJ Freeway combined to form Akerna Corp. (“Akerna”). The shares of common stock and warrants of Akerna will begin trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market tomorrow, June 18, 2019, under the symbols “KERN” and “KERNW,” respectively. The company also announced raising $9.2 million prior to this closing.
“We are very pleased to close this transaction and look forward to capitalizing on the substantial operating and financial benefits we believe the combination will create. From here, we believe we are well positioned to pursue our acquisition strategy to drive transformation for future growth in the regulatory technology sector,” commented Scott Sozio, CEO of MTech. “We believe comprehensive, compliant, scalable technology solutions will underpin the industry’s rapid growth, and serve as a backbone for sustained success.”
Roger McNamee, Senior Advisor to the Akerna Board of Directors added, “Cannabis companies that want to be leaders are adopting MJ Platform, because it is the only ERP product with the technical foundation to support multi-line and multi-location operations. This transaction will enable MJ to better support customers manage high growth and complexity as the industry transitions from local to a global scale.”
Upon the closing of the transaction, the former MJ Freeway equity holders exchanged their securities of MJ Freeway for securities of Akerna, and the former equity holders of MTech exchanged their securities of MTech for securities of Akerna. As a result of the former MJ Freeway equity holders beneficially own approximately 62.7% of Akerna’s outstanding shares of common stock (including the shares held in escrow and unvested restricted shares); the former MTech stockholders beneficially own approximately 27.7% of Akerna’s outstanding common stock; and the investors in MTech’s previously-announced private placement that closed concurrently with the business combination beneficially own approximately 9.6% of Akerna’s outstanding shares of common stock. Legal counsel for the business combination was provided by Graubard Miller (MJ Freeway) and Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP (MTech).