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Dec 5, 2018

Aphria deal maker SOL Global hits back at short-seller report

Aphria shares under pressure again

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SOL Global Investments Corp. (COL.CD) is defending its recent sale of cannabis assets to Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) (APHA.N) and says it will pursue “all available legal relief” in the wake of a critical report prepared by short-sellers about the Canadian pot producer’s recent transactions in Latin America.

Hindenburg Research and Quintessential Capital Management (QCM) released a report Monday that alleged Leamington, Ont.-based Aphria acquired foreign companies in Jamaica, Argentina and Colombia from SOL at “vastly inflated” prices in a transaction the short-sellers claim benefitted a group of insiders.

Both QCM and Hindenburg have taken short positions in Aphria.

“Quintessential Capital Management and Hindenburg Research are financially invested in destroying the stock prices of SOL Global and other cannabis companies by publicizing false and/or purposely misleading information to apply negative pressure to stock prices,” said Brady Cobb, SOL Global's CEO, in a release on Wednesday.

“Our company will not engage in a back-and-forth with these bad-faith actors at this time.”

Cobb also said the firm plans to pursue “all available legal relief against parties that have manipulated SOL Global's stock price via false and/or misleading information.” 

Aphria has denied that the company and SOL are “sister” companies, as alleged by Quintessential Founder Gabriel Grego. It issued a statement on Tuesday stating the company “unequivocally stands behind” the company’s Latin American operations and described the report’s allegations as “a malicious and self-serving attempt to profit" with "misrepresentations and distortions" about its business.

Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld wasn’t immediately for comment.

Shares in the pot producer dropped 16.53 per cent on Wednesday to close at an even $5.00. It has declined more than 50 per cent since the short-sellers’ report was released on Monday.