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Aug 22, 2018

With Constellation deal, Canopy is emerging as the Google of pot

McCreath's Wrap: Canopy's Constellation deal puts it in the driver's seat


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Canopy Growth Corp.’s chief executive officer expects one “Google-like company” to dominate the cannabis industry. His own firm may well be on its way.

Canopy’s transformative deal with Constellation Brands Inc., the maker of Corona beer, has given it legitimacy, clout and a cash hoard that has widened the gap with its competitors. The deal has boosted Canopy’s stock 56 per cent since Constellation’s $5 billion investment for a 38 per cent stake was announced last week. That brings its market value to $11 billion, in the same league as plane maker Bombardier Inc. and retailer Canadian Tire Corp. and about $3.7 billion more than its nearest competitor Aurora Cannabis Inc.

Canopy is now the biggest company on Canada’s increasingly pot-dominated health-care index, surpassing Bausch Health Cos., the former Valeant Pharmaceuticals, for the first time on Monday.

After the Constellation deal, Canopy will have 12 times more cash than any of its Canadian competitors and almost as much cash on hand as the approximately $7 billion that has been raised in the entire Canadian cannabis industry to date, according to Matt Bottomley, analyst at Canaccord Genuity Group Inc.

The company had $658 million in cash and equivalents at the end of the quarter ended June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, bringing its total potential cash pile to $5.7 billion when adding the Constellation infusion.

“Even prior to this deal, we believe Canopy had a top-three presence on the global cannabis stage in the 11 countries where it has secured exposure,” Bottomley wrote in a note last week. “With C$5 billion slated to hit the balance sheet later in October, we believe Canopy is now second to none with its ability to expand this platform even further.”

Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said he plans to use the cash to expand production globally, including into the all-important U.S. market once federal laws allow it.