While the northern hemisphere prepares for cannabis sweet treats and edibles to saturate the Canadian market, pot stocks across the Canadian-American border are reassessing their global plays. The more markets that legalize cannabis and hemp, the smaller the world becomes, and the most competitive cannabis brands will need to be nationally, if not globally, recognizable to remain relevant.
To keep cannabis investors on top of the players in this ever-changing market space, PotNetwork News compiled a list of the top money moves made at the end of last week. In case you missed it, here are the top three things cannabis investors need to know by the time the market opens up today.
VIVO Cannabis invests in cannabis retail chain Friendly Stranger
Vivo Cannabis Inc. (TSXV:VIVO) (OTCQX:VVCIF), an Ontario-based cultivator known for its CannaFarms and Lumina brand cannabis products, strategically invested $1.25 million in Friendly Stranger Holdings Corp. Friendly Stranger is a dispensary chain that has been operating in Canada since the mid-90s. Currently, its ten locations in Ontario service more than 200,000 customers per year. With this investment, the chain intends to open more stores across the Canadian provinces.
While this is a strategically local expansion plan, investors should note the quirky details of the agreement. The investment includes a preferred partnership agreement wherein the two companies will collaborate on in-store branding events and other co-branding opportunities, as well as a collaboration to assist Friendly Stranger in procuring the necessary retail licenses in other territories.
“We have actively sought strategic partnerships with retailers to establish strong relationships with existing and future leaders in the cannabis industry,” Barry Fishman, VIVO CEO, said on Thursday. “We look forward to working with Friendly Stranger to advance their premium adult-use cannabis retail strategy in Ontario and throughout Canada."
Focusing on a national retail and branding strategy should make VIVO’s brand of products easier to launch on a broader level. It is a long-game strategy but could pay off if both VIVO and Friendly Stranger make the most of their co-branding opportunities. Unfortunately, investors will have to wait and see, as no details about the branding events have been released as of yet.
New Age Beverage expands licensing agreement with Marley family
New Age Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:NBEV) is the latest all-natural beverage company to hop on the rising trend of CBD-infused beverages. The company extended its licensing agreement with the Marley family (yes, as in Bob Marley) for another ten years to promote the Marley’s portfolio of products.
The portfolio is owned by the Marley family and Docklight Brands, a company founded by Privateer Holdings. The recently extended agreement with New Age now includes the new, ready-to-drink CBD shots as well as the Marley Mellow Mood + CBD line of infused beverages. More importantly, the extension brings New Age and the Marley brand into a total of five countries so far, including the United States, Japan, and Hungary.
“Since forming the partnership with New Age in January, we have been all systems go for launch of the Marley Mellow Mood + CBD brand,” said Damian Marano, CEO of Docklight. “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with New Age to take on the world.”
Taking on the world is the kind of mentality pot stocks need at this point in the game, and working together with both names and brands that consumers recognize is one way to take on the global cannabis market. Focusing primarily on CBD could also pay off. Since the FDA held its first hearing on the potential of CBD as a health supplement, companies have been rallying to quickly prepare for a market that could be worth well over $20 billion by 2022. Extending this agreement shows that New Age and the Marleys know what they are doing and could pay off big for investors quick enough to snag a piece of their infused pie.
Cannex provides update on merger with 4Front
Cannex Capital Holdings (CSE:CNNX) (OTCQX:CNXXF) originally announced their merger with Arizona-based marijuana company 4Front Holdings in November of last year. The merger was supposed to close in February 2019, but per the company’s recent update, the close is now scheduled for July 31.
The combined company is valued at $485 million and includes six cultivation and processing facilities, five retail stores, and licensing agreements for nine more dispensaries across the United States. This is not the first merger between an American and a Canadian cannabis company, and it definitely will not be the last, but investors should not overlook certain details in the update.
On Thursday, Cannex announced that both companies withdrew their business filing with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, stating that “the current business combination is not reportable under HSR.” While this simply means that the new valuation of $485 million does not exceed the monetary threshold of the Hart Scott Rodino Act, it could also make it easier for the new company to streamline its business operations in the United States. Investors will need to keep an eye on how fast things start moving after July 31 and if their portfolio could use a fast-moving pot stock like this one.