Verano Holdings, one of Chicago’s largest cannabis companies, intends to go public just nine months after a planned sale collapsed.
Like its Chicago peers Green Thumb Industries and Cresco Labs, Verano plans to go public on the Canadian Stock Exchange through a reverse takeover of an existing public company. It hopes to raise about $75 million, according to an investor presentation obtained by Crain’s.
Weed companies can’t list on U.S. exchanges because marijuana is federally illegal. Verano’s target is Majesta Minerals, a shell company based in Calgary. The deal was first reported by Bloomberg Canada.
The deal would value Verano at nearly $2.9 billion, more than three times the amount it would have fetched if its planned sale to Phoenix-based Harvest Health & Recreation had gone through. Verano has since acquired Florida-based Altmed and its sales are on track to triple this year.
If Verano succeeds in the offering, which it hopes to close Dec. 23, it would signal the public market for marijuana companies is back after collapsing last year. It also would further cement Chicago’s status as a hub for the weed business, with headquarters of three of the eight largest publicly traded legal marijuana growers and sellers.
The cash will give Verano needed fuel to continue its rapid growth, building out cultivation and retail facilities in Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and other states where it has licenses to sell recreational or medical marijuana. Weed companies have struggled to find capital to build out facilities to feed a rapidly growing market. Instead they’ve resorted to loans and sale-leaseback transactions on less-favorable terms than other industries receive.
Verano, which was founded in 2014 by restaurateur George Archos and Sammy Dorf, largely has operated out of the spotlight. But it has grown to be one of the biggest and most