MedMen’s ends blockbuster deal adding to cannabis stock woes

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On Tuesday, MedMen Enterprises Inc., which sells legal cannabis in California and 11 other states, backed out of a blockbuster deal to purchase PharmaCann, a Chicago-primarily based marijuana enterprise with operations in eight states.

In its announcement, Los Angeles-primarily based MedMen cited the steep pullback in U.S. and Canadian cannabis stocks this year. It noted the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index, a Canadian exchange-traded fund that tracks cannabis stocks, is down 47% considering the fact that March.

“The underperformance has created it increasingly additional crucial to allocate capital effectively, offered the present business headwinds,” MedMen mentioned in a news release.

The deal was announced in December and was observed as a forerunner of a wave of marijuana business mergers and acquisitions promising huge returns for investors.

Billions poured into marijuana stocks final year as investors got on board with the huge, multistate operators with the funds to obtain expensive licenses in the 11 states exactly where it is legal to sell cannabis goods.

A flurry of bargains in late 2018 and early this year continued to entice investors. But hopes of mergers receiving fast regulatory approval quickly faded as the U.S. Justice Division started to evaluation the bargains for possible antitrust violations. That evaluation procedure has however to be completed, although some analysts count on the bargains could start closing as early as this month.

“There’s been a delay in M&ampampA activity and that is prompted investors to step away from the sector till they know M&ampampA activity is going to choose up once again,” mentioned Bobby Burleson, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity. “That’s sort of dampened enthusiasm for the sector, since that was 1 exit path that looked like it was closed temporarily.”

Investors have had no shortage of motives lately to sour on marijuana stocks, beyond the delay in deal approvals.

Vaping-connected deaths and illnesses have contributed to the slide in some cannabis stocks. States which includes Massachusetts and Montana have also temporarily banned sales of flavored electronic cigarettes and vaping goods in a bid to decrease underage use.

Vaping of marijuana goods in states exactly where it is legal for adults account for more than a quarter of income for the sector and, in some circumstances, 30% or additional of sales, Burleson mentioned.

“People are waiting to see regardless of whether or not there’s been a unfavorable effect more than all on business income,” he mentioned.

Also weighing on marijuana stocks is a enhance in stock industry volatility brought about by a slowing U.S. economy and uncertainty more than the trade war amongst the U.S. and China.

Nonetheless, cannabis stocks are a huge loser so far this year, relative to the broader industry.

Take into account, the ETFMG Option Harvest exchange traded fund, which focuses on cannabis stocks: It is down 19.six% this year and off practically 50% from a year ago. And shares in some of the largest marijuana organizations, which includes Tilary, Canopy Development, and Aurora Cannabis are down additional than 50% from a year ago.

Numerous huge organizations that have invested in cannabis firms are also down additional than 10% from a year ago, which includes Altria Group, AbbVie, Molson Coors Brewing and Constellation Brands.

By comparison, the benchmark S&ampampP 500 index is up 15.four% this year and hovering slightly above exactly where it stood 12 months ago.

A much less welcoming stock industry can limit a company’s capacity to raise capital by issuing stock. MedMen noted that a massive portion of PharmaCann’s cultivation and manufacturing assets calls for “significant capital expenditures.”

“There’s been a lot much less capacity to go to the markets and raise capital, so investors are scrutinizing the balance sheets of public organizations to see who’s finest positioned to climate the dry spell in capital markets,” Burleson mentioned.

Now that it has backed out of its bid for PharmaCann, MedMen mentioned it intends to concentrate on constructing its retail brand and on line company. In exchange for forgiving some debt, the enterprise is taking specific cannabis licenses and other assets in Illinois and Virginia from PharmaCann.

“Looking at the PharmaCann portfolio right now, Illinois has emerged as the most eye-catching chance for our longer-term, strategic development strategy,” mentioned Adam Bierman, MedMen co-founder and CEO.

Supply: AP

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