A week ago, US dispensary roll-up play MedMen (MMEN.C) closed an $86m financing and a $99.95m loan to help them complete a $682m deal to buy PharmaCann, which has ten dispensaries and three weed grows.
It was big news and propelled MMEN stock, which many deem to be overpriced before the deal, substantially higher still.
That play was seemingly part of MMEN’s relentless need to be ‘the biggest weed play in America,’ which has seen them buy a handful of dispensaries in recent months while declining to reveal what they’re actually paying for them, citing that as ‘immaterial information,’ even as they borrow money – and sell the buildings their dispensaries are in – to go buy more.
Medmen Enterprises Inc. has reached agreement to sell a significant portion of its real estate assets to the newly formed Treehouse Real Estate Investment Trust.
The initial transaction includes three properties and is expected to generate approximately $12.5-million of proceeds to the company after repayment of debt. Additional real estate assets in Medmen’s portfolio are expected to be sold to Treehouse over the next 12 months. The properties sold to Treehouse will be leased backed to Medmen or its subsidiaries at market rates under long-term leases.
Selling the bathroom to pay for another bedroom? In my opinion, if you’re that desperate to get another $12m in the bank that you’re selling your bricks and mortar stores and committing to pay rent forever, you’re either desperate to buy something right now, at any cost (maybe to propel your share price?), or someone is calling in your debts and has decided to take your property in lieu.
Or, and I’m just spitballing here, since the top execs at MMEN, by our calculations, receive $7m in bonuses when the stock hits $10, maybe they don’t want to dilute the share structure any more than they have to and are prepared to sell company property to get them over the bonus line. MMEN stock is $9.09 currently but touched $9.88 briefly today.
Regardless, when that MMEN news dropped last week, we suggested iAnthus (IAN.C) might be a better option for those wanting to go large with an investment on the US dispensary scene, as they hold similar assets to MedMen, without the crazy marketing spend, questionable executive compensation plans, amassing debts, and with shareholders owning the voting rights, rather than the top three executives.
Also, iAnthus had a market cap of under $400m, compared to the I don’t even know how many billion tacked onto MedMen these days. [Editor’s note: It’s 4 billion]
I say iAnthus ‘had’ a $400m market cap because that cap has surged over the last week.
iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc. and MPX Bioceutical Corp. (MPX.C) have signed an arrangement agreement, pursuant to which iAnthus will combine with MPX in an all-stock transaction with offered equity consideration to MPX shareholders valued at $835-million before giving effect to MPX International (defined herein) and assuming all of MPX’s dilutive securities are exercised prior to the completion of the transaction.
The agreement represents the first public to public merger transaction in U.S. cannabis history.
The combined company will be represented in ten states, and have permits for 56 retail locations and 14 cultivation and processing facilities.
MPX shareholders will receive a 30.6% premium on the deal, which is a fair amount of thanks for coming aboard a train that has been running hard.
Here’s how iAnthus has managed to grow during a year when most cannabis companies declined or struggled to catch their valuations from a year ago:
..and here’s how MPX has hard charged into the breach as others around it were falling:
Christ on a bike.
What you have here is two of the top three fastest growing US-based dispensary/grow combos joining forces and becoming as close to a national player as can legally exist in the US right now.
Granted, they don’t have the billboards all over LA that MMEN has, nor the national marketing campaigns that show up in states where the company does no business. MMEN has a nicer gym at its HQ and the cafeteria beer taps. And is SELLING ITS REAL ESTATE TO RAISE MONEY.
The iAnthus and MPX teams are notable for their professionalism, their lack of wild promises and corner cutting, their consistent measured growth, and their ability to close a deal that they can actually talk about in a news release. Together, they present a serious acquisition target for any mega-player that wants national reach from day one of any decriminalizing of weed on a national scale.
And as they continue to expand, they do so without needing to blow out the cap structure or borrow 9-figure amounts.
The MPX/IAN merger is good business bringing together like minds, solid reputations, and a business model that justifies their combined market cap. Congratulations are in order.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: iAnthus is an Equity.Guru marketing client.