Green Growth Brands Inc., the Ohio-based cannabis company that once made a $2.8 billion hostile bid for Aphria Inc., filed for insolvency protection, the company announced on Wednesday. 

An Ontario court sent an order to Green Growth Brands to obtain creditor protection after it faced a "severe liquidity crisis" amid maturing debt payments, the company said. The situation was further exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In court filings, Green Growth Brands' appointed monitor, Ernst & Young, said the company is part of several lawsuits that it is unable to pay for, and has more than $100 million in secured debt. The company was able to obtain US$7.2 million in debtor-in-possession financing and has roughly $718,000 in cash remaining on its balance sheet across its various business lines. 

The announcement marks a fall from grace for the company which eyed Aphria last year in an attempt to become a North American cannabis giant. Green Growth Brands pursued the Leamington, Ont.-based company with an all-stock bid worth $11 per share in January 2019. The bid was timed to take advantage of Aphria's share price, which was then under pressure from a report by short-sellers who raised concerns about its Latin American investments. 

Aphria rejected Green Growth Brands' bid and the two companies agreed to end the takeover offer early in April 2019. Since then, Green Growth Brands attempted to sell its CBD business to The BRN Group, a company once affiliated with hip hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, in February. Peter Horvath, the company's chief executive officer, stepped down in March. 

Horvath recently became the CEO of Hightimes Holding Corp., which is attempting to shift its strategy from publishing cannabis culture magazines to owning and operating California pot shops. ​

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