CHICAGO – Billionaire chewing gum heir William “Beau” Wrigley Jr. is returning to his Chicago business roots, but this time he’s selling weed.
Parallel, an Atlanta-based marijuana company Wrigley launched in 2019, announced Thursday it has purchased six Windy City Cannabis dispensaries, entering the fast-growing Illinois recreational weed market in a big way.
The $100 million cash and stock deal includes Windy City Cannabis dispensaries in Homewood, Highwood, Posen and Litchfield, with dispensaries in Carpentersville and Macomb slated to open this month. The deal, which requires approval from state regulators, is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
“The acquisition of Windy City enables Parallel’s entry into Illinois, one of the best performing cannabis markets in the U.S. to date,” Wrigley said in a news release. “Parallel is expected to have one of the largest retail footprints in Illinois among U.S. cannabis operators.”
Wrigley was unavailable for comment.
Not including the Windy City acquisition, Parallel has 42 retail stores in Massachusetts, Florida and Nevada, as well as cultivation and manufacturing sites in four states. It is building a production facility in Pennsylvania with plans to open medical dispensaries across the state over the next year, the company said.
Parallel plans to go public this summer through a special purpose acquisition company.
Wrigley, 57, is the great-grandson of William Wrigley Jr., who founded his namesake company in Chicago in 1891 by making soap. The company started producing Juicy Fruit and Doublemint gum soon thereafter, and a chewing gum dynasty was born.
The great-grandson Wrigley took control of the family business in 1999. He sold the company for $23 billion in 2008 to confectioner Mars.
In a February interview, Wrigley told Forbes his marijuana company “can be bigger than the Wrigley company.”
The sale of the six Windy City Cannabis dispensaries unwinds a pioneering Chicago-based company that was an