Pot Company Tilray Attracts Blue Chip Investors, CEO Says

(Bloomberg) -- Tilray Inc., the first cannabis company to list directly on a U.S. exchange, attracted several blue-chip investors to its initial public offering, according to its chief executive officer.

“The top 10 investors in our IPO would surprise people,” Brendan Kennedy said on the sidelines of a marijuana conference in Toronto Wednesday. “We had a very large book of investors and a large percentage of them were blue-chip institutional investors and we were their first cannabis investment.”

Data compiled by Bloomberg shows small investments from Factor Advisors LLC, Brinker Capital Inc., Nationwide Fund Advisors and Driehaus Capital Management LLC. Details of Tilray’s IPO investors won’t be disclosed until later this year, Kennedy said.

With its debut on the Nasdaq last month, Nanaimo, B.C.-based Tilray became the first cannabis company to list on a U.S. exchange without first listing in Canada. The decision came from meetings with more than 300 institutional investors globally who said they wanted the liquidity and ease of investing that comes from trading in the U.S., Kennedy said.

“The feedback we got from most of the international investors, but specifically blue-chip, long-only mutual funds in the U.S., was that they wanted a U.S. listing,” he said.

The company’s pre-IPO Series A funding round, which closed in February and raised C$60 million ($46 billion), attracted 10 institutional investors, with nine from the U.S. and one from Canada, he said. Tilray’s stock is up more than 70 percent since its debut on July 19, including a 21 percent gain Wednesday after U.S. alcohol firm Constellation Brands Inc. spent $5 billion to boost its stake in Canadian pot grower Canopy Growth Corp. to 38 percent, further legitimizing the industry.

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