According to the industry rumor-mill Leamington-based Aphria Inc (TSE:APH) (OTCMKTS:APHQF) (FRA:10E) appears to be making some behind-the-scenes maneuvers in preparation for an eventual uplisting to the New York Stock Exchange, though no specific date has been confirmed. Around midnight on Tuesday, Midas Letter reporter Benjamin Smith went to press with evidence of what he believes shows that the company plans to follow in the footsteps of fellow Licensed Producer Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC).
[Is Canopy Growth hiding (another) total crop failure from their shareholders?]
Smith notes that a September 28 Management Information Circular filed by Aphria on SEDAR holds the key to unlocking this supposed mystery. In the circular, Aphria lays out the responsibilities, composition, and authority of their Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. According to a directive filed under Audit Committee Charter 2.0(b), which deals with the composition and membership of the committee, Smith writes, quoting from the circular:
“...member or members must meet specific United States Securities Act requirements, such as those set out in Item 407 of Regulation S-K and Rule 10A-3, as amended and Section 303A.02 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual.”
[Aphria unveils a new slate of cannabis brands for Canada’s recreational market]
Notice the mention of the NYSE there at the end. And that’s not the only time the exchange’s name appears in the document, as Smith finds it in another section on Board independence:
“A majority of the Board will be comprised of directors who are “independent” per the standards and requirements promulgated by all governmental and regulatory bodies exercising control over Aphria as may be in effect from time to time, including Section 303A.02 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual and relevant rules of any other stock exchanges on which Aphria’s shares are listed.”
The move matches up with 303A.02 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual, according to Smith, which defines an “independent director” for the standards of the exchange. In fact, the NYSE has specific guidelines that companies must meet, which it appears Aphria might be doing here before they can list on the exchange.
Of course, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Aphria would look to make such a move. The company recently completed its divestiture from Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (OTCMKTS:LHSIF) — over 64 million shares — and did so ahead of schedule. And while many thought the move was mostly related to threats of being kicked off of the TSX, there’s been a steady stream of rumors over the past six month between Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB), CannTrust Holdings (OTCMKTS:CNTTF), and Aphria, among others, to see who would be the next cannabis stock to make a move to a US exchange.
[Marijuana stocks weekend investor roundup: Analysis of the week's most important events in the cannabis industry (September 28)]
Whether or not it happens, and happens in time for cannabis to go legal in Canada is another story. Although there is no rush to make it happen before October 17 at this point, which would, at most create a short-term price boost. The real money in cannabis is in the long game, as anyone at Tilray already knows.