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Aug 27, 2018

Canadian pot stocks surge with industry eyeing more alcohol tie-ups

Pot stocks soar as Diageo report heightens anticipation for cross-industry deals

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Canadian pot stocks surged for a second straight session Monday amid speculation more alcohol companies will strike deals with marijuana growers as Canada marches closer to legalization.

Shares of Nanaimo, British Columbia-based Tilray Inc. (TLRY.O) jumped 21.84 per cent to US$53.44, a record high, while peer Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.OQ) soared 21 per cent on the Nasdaq, the biggest intraday gain since January. Aphria Inc. (APH.TO) rose 6.85 per cent in Toronto to close at $14.97, while Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) increased 7.68 per cent to close at $9.25.

Diageo Plc (DEO.N), the maker of Guinness beer, is holding discussions with at least three Canadian cannabis producers about a possible deal, BNN Bloomberg reported last week. Earlier this month, Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ.N), the brewer of Corona, announced it will spend US$3.8 billion to increase its stake in Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED.TO), the largest deal in Canada’s nascent marijuana industry. Molson Coors Brewing Co. is also starting a joint venture with Hydropothecary Corp. to develop cannabis drinks in Canada.

More alcoholic beverage companies are likely to strike deals with Canadian marijuana producers now that Diageo is looking to enter the space, Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azer said Monday in a note. Tilray is “an attractive partner” for an alcohol company due to its broad portfolio of consumer brands, many of which are commercially available in the U.S., she said. Tilray, which was taken public by Cowen in July, now has a market value of almost US$5 billion.

“We expect more alcoholic beverage companies to announce deals with Canadian LPs over the course of the year,” Azer said in the note.

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