'Undisclosed' Firm Outbids POSaBIT to Buy Akerna

The companies did not say how much the deal would be worth.

In a surprise twist, former cannabis tech firm Akerna’s (Nasdaq: KERN) plans to sell two of its software subsidiaries to a cannabis payment heavyweight have gone up in smoke after a mystery bidder swooped in with a better offer.

The tech firm said that it terminated its agreement to sell the two business units, MJ Freeway and Ample Organics, to payment giant POSaBIT Systems Corp. (CSE: PBIT) (OTC: POSAF).

The company said it received a better unsolicited offer for its software business from an “undisclosed” company, which POSaBIT said it chose not to beat. The companies did not say how much the deal would be worth, though the most POSaBIT had been willing to pay was $4 million.

In January, Akerna sold two other business units, 365 Cannabis and Last Call Analytics, for about $2.9 million after it decided it would exit the cannabis market. The sales were intended to generate funds to pay off debts and cover expenses associated with a proposed merger with Gryphon Digital Mining.

Akerna’s board of directors, along with financial and legal advisors, carefully evaluated the unsolicited offer and determined that it would provide greater value to shareholders. Consequently, they decided to cancel the agreement with POSaBIT.

In a statement, Gryphon Digital Mining Inc. said it supports Akerna’s decision to accept the new acquisition proposal, positing that it will ultimately benefit the stockholders of the combined company (Akerna and Gryphon) once the transaction is finalized.

The termination fee of $140,000 owed to POSaBIT under the terms of the agreement will be paid by the mystery company. POSaBIT may also be reimbursed for expenses “up to $60,000.”

“The company remains grateful for the efforts and collaboration of POSaBIT during the negotiation process and wishes them continued success in their future endeavors,” Akerna said in a Friday statement.

The new accords also include a stipulation which grants POSaBIT exclusive rights to provide payment processing services to MJ Freeway merchants.

In the meantime, POSaBIT said it would buy compliance software firm Hypur for $7.5 million, which the company said added more than $100 million in annualized payment gross merchandise value.

More information about the new acquisition proposal will be disclosed as negotiations advance and all necessary regulatory approvals are obtained, Akerna said.

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson writes about the cannabis industry for the Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri Statehouse for the Columbia Missourian and has written for the Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter at @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.

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