Going Public: William “Beau” Wrigley is the newest cannabis company CEO to strike a deal to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
Jamel Toppin for Forbes
William “Beau” Wrigley Jr. is taking his cannabis company Parallel public on a Canadian exchange by merging with a company backed by music industry entrepreneur Scooter Braun.
Parallel will merge with Ceres Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, at a $1.8 billion valuation, the company announced on Monday. The deal is expected to close this summer.
Wrigley, who is chairman and CEO of Parallel, will remain at the helm once the deal closes. Scooter Braun will serve as a special advisor and help with branding and marketing.
Wrigley, an heir to the chewing gum fortune, believes his cannabis company could one day rival his family’s old business.
“I think this can be bigger than the Wrigley company,” he told Forbes during an interview last month. “At Wrigley, we brought joy to people’s lives. This is much bigger than that.”
Wrigley was the fourth generation to run William Wrigley Co., which his great-grandfather founded in the late 1800s, and took over as CEO and chairman the day after his father passed away in 1999. In 2008, Wrigley sold the family company by taking it private in a leveraged buyout to Mars, Inc. for $23 billion.
Parallel currently has 42 dispensaries in three states, 39 in Florida and the rest in Massachusetts and Nevada. The company plans to open new retail locations in Pennsylvania and Texas.
The merger with Ceres will also fund a national expansion plan, says Joe Crouthers, a former portfolio manager at Goldman Sachs who co-founded Ceres Group Holdings with Scooter Braun. In an investor deck, Parallel says it plans to expand to a total of eight states and