U.S. Cannabis Firm Verano Goes Public in Canada to Aid Growth

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Cannabis operator Verano Holdings Corp. is poised to go public as a growing number of companies seek financing and weigh deals to capitalize on the sector’s rapid growth.

The Chicago-based company is scheduled to begin trading Wednesday on the Canadian Securities Exchange following a reverse merger with Alberta-based Majesta Minerals Inc. Some U.S. firms have tapped the Canadian markets as legal restrictions prevent cannabis companies from trading on domestic exchanges.

The public listing will help Verano pursue a strategy of acquisitive growth, according to Chief Executive Officer George Archos. The company said it’s already the third-largest multistate operator in the U.S. by revenue following a deal with another cannabis company, Alternative Medical Enterprises LLC, which operates in Arizona and Florida.

“We’re looking at additional mergers and acquisitions within our current footprint of 14 states,” Archos said in a phone interview. He pointed to Arizona and Pennsylvania as attractive growth markets.

Along with the go-public transaction with Majesta, Verano raised $100 million through a concurrent private-placement financing. The company plans to distinguish itself by highlighting its self-developed flower strains, Archos said.

Verano also has strong financials, he said, noting that it owns most of its real estate and has little debt. “We’ve been profitable since day one.”

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