Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) is set to begin trading on February 17 after closing the reverse takeover of Majesta Minerals Inc. and the merger with Alternative Medical Enterprises LLC, Plants of Ruskin GPS, LLC, RVC 360, LLC, and affiliated companies better known as AltMed and sometimes referred to as AME. The company noted that the Subordinate Voting Shares would begin trading on the CSE, but that the Proportionate Voting Shares will not be listed for trading.
“Our public listing will provide us access to capital to execute our long-term strategy of expanding into limited-license, high-growth markets and scaling our wholesale and retail operations into new and existing markets,” said CEO George Archos. Archos holds 19.62% of the issued and outstanding SV Shares of Verano. While the subscription price is $10, it is expected that the stock will trade above that level.
Verano is in 12 U.S. States, with active operations in nine, which includes 23 active retail locations and approximately 440,000 square feet across its six cultivation facilities. Verano produces a full suite of premium, artisanal cannabis products sold under its trusted portfolio of consumer brands: Encore, Avexia, and Verano. Verano designs, builds, and operates inimitable Zen Leaf branded dispensary environments that deliver a superior cannabis shopping experience in both medical and adult-use markets.
The merger with Alt-Med brings the company the MÜV brand of medical cannabis-infused products which were launched in Arizona in 2016. Alt Med has 29 active retail locations, the AME Parties have 220,000 square feet of cultivation facilities in Florida, and 33,542 square feet in Arizona, which is expected to increase by an additional 110,000 square feet to meet increased demand.
“The combination with AltMed joins two complementary companies focused on providing superior customer experiences. We have both been disciplined operators since inception, and together we anticipate continuing to generate strong profitability and an EBITDA margin that would rank us near the top of our peer group,” said Mr. Archos. “Our public listing will provide us with access to capital to execute our growth plan, including the organic growth of our retail presence and product portfolio in addition to the pursuit of strategic acquisitions, with the goal of being a top three operator in the states in which we operate.”
For the nine months ending in September 2020, Verano reported revenue of $154 million and AME reported $87 million. The net income for the same period was $118 million for Verano and $88 million for AME. On a pro forma consolidated basis, the nine months of revenue would be $241 million and the net income would be $172 million.
Winners & Losers
In 2019, Harvest Health & Recreation (OTC: HRVSF) intended to acquire Verano for roughly $850 million. The two companies agreed to terminate the deal without incurring any breakup fees. Part of the problem with the all-stock deal was that Harvest Health’s stock plunged from C$8.79 at the time of the announcement to roughly C$1.62. The stock was lately selling at C$4.61. “This decision was not taken lightly,” said George Archos, Verano Holdings CEO. “While both organizations worked very hard to consummate this transaction, significant delays in closing started with the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review process. Those were followed by state and local regulatory complexities in multiple states.” Harvest has a current market cap of $1.8 billion while Verano’s market cap is expected to be $2.8 billion.
SOL Global Investments Corp. (OTCPK: SOLCF) stands to benefit greatly from its investment in Verano. Once the stock begins trading, SOL Global expects to hold 25.2 million subordinate voting shares and was pleased to note that Verano has “effectively scaled up its operations in several key cannabis markets in the U.S., including Illinois, New Jersey and Nevada (either directly or via affiliates/subsidiaries), and is well positioned to continue to generate impressive quarter over quarter growth.”
Sol Global said in a statement that the transaction will have a significant positive impact on its net asset value and the company will update the market in a timely manner as information is available. Sol Global also had to set the record straight with one of its lenders regarding the Verano stake. On February 7, 2021, the company initiated litigation in the State of New York against its lender, 1235 Fund LP, an affiliate of MMCAP who wants Verano stock instead of being paid in cash.
Back in 2019, the company announced that it had completed a $50,000,000 private placement financing by way of the issue and sale of a senior secured non-convertible debenture. If the deal between Verano and Harvest Health had occurred, the lender would have been repaid in shares of either Verano or Harvest, which would have enabled the lender to cover its short position in Harvest and provided the lender with a reasonable premium of return beyond the stipulated 6%.
“The Harvest Transaction did not close and thus the Debenture is repayable only in cash. Nevertheless, on February 5, 2021, the lender has wrongfully sent a formal notice purportedly electing to receive, instead of cash, Verano shares currently owned by the Company whose value is more than 200% of the principal value of the Debenture. The Company advised the lender that it will repay the Debenture in cash pursuant to its terms. To address any uncertainty resulting from the lender’s positions, the Company commenced litigation against the lender and another seeking declaratory relief that, among other things, the lender has no right to be repaid in Verano shares. As a result of the lender’s positions, SOL Global has decided that it will no longer do business with it nor participate in any transaction in which the lender is involved.”