An investor’s opposition to Canopy Growth Corp.’s acquisition of Acreage Holdings Inc. may signal a new trend for an industry that’s largely been free from shareholder activism.
Marcato Capital Management, which holds Acreage shares, has said it will vote against the deal because it undervalues the New York-based company. Marcato believes the value of pot firms will soar with U.S. legalization, so “it is highly imprudent for Acreage to sell itself today at the proposed valuation, with so much unlocked growth and value embedded in the company.’’
Acreage said the view is inconsistent with “the vast majority of shareholders.’’
Still, it marks the first time an activist investor has waded into the cannabis industry and could be a sign of things to come, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Kenneth Shea and Gopal Srinivasan.
Marcato’s opposition “may be a precursor of rising shareholder ire targeting cannabis companies that are perceived to not be acting in the best interest of all shareholders,’’ the analysts said in a recent note.
High valuations, unprofitable operations and insular ownership structures may prompt activists to get involved in the industry, the analysts said. Rising short interest in some pot stocks is the first indication of investor dissatisfaction, and has pressured companies like Aphria Inc. to make significant changes to their management teams and boards. [Read More @ Bloomberg]