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Jan 18, 2018

Canopy makes breakthrough with big banks, BMO to co-lead financing

Special coverage: Canopy Growth CEO's outlook for the cannabis sector in 2018

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Canada’s cannabis sector is at long last gaining a seal of approval from one of the nation’s largest lenders. Canopy Growth is raising $175 million in a bought deal financing co-led by BMO and boutique investment bank GMP, the first time one of Canada’s big five banks has dipped its toe into the nascent marijuana sector.

Up until now, the big Canadian banks have steered clear of the marijuana sector due to concerns companies could be ensnared in a legal quagmire in the United States, where there’s significant uncertainty surrounding marijuana laws. Canopy has no exposure to the U.S., and says it has no intention to enter markets where cannabis is not legalized federally.

McCreath: Canopy's lack of exposure to U.S. probably why BMO got involved

BNN Commentator Andrew McCreath discusses the Bank of Montreal becoming the first Canadian bank to underwrite a marijuana company. He says the deal, through Canopy Growth will raise $175 million in a bought-deal financing co-led by BMO and GMP, "brings a whole new life to the marijuana space here in Canada."

The company has long viewed acceptance from the big banks as one of the last major hurdles to clear for the industry. In a December 22, 2017 interview on BNN, Bruce Linton said the lack of access to financing and services from the banks was a long-time irritant, but that he expected the floodgates to open early this year ahead of Canada’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

“[The banks are] cautious about allowing debt instruments, they’re cautious about allowing [employees] to give financial advice,” he said. “I think you’ll see, on about January 1st, 2018 a bunch of them pushing into the sector, and for sure by July, they’re all there. I think that’ll be the final normal business hurdle that we get over.”

Under the terms of the deal, Canopy will issue 5,060,000 shares at $34.60 apiece, about eight per cent below Wednesday’s closing price. 

 

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