Shares of Canadian cannabis growers Aphria Inc. (NASDAQ: APHA) and Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) are trading up on Wednesday, following news about the two companies merging to create the largest enterprise in the industry by revenue.
It is estimated the combined entity will be valued at roughly $3.9 billion, boasting pro-forma yearly sales of $685 million.
Interested in learning more about the transaction and its implications, Benzinga caught up with Aphria CEO and chairman Irwin D. Simon, who will maintain those two positions in the new company, and Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy, who will serve in the new corporation’s board of directors alongside one other person picked by Tilray, and seven others (including Simon) from Aphria.
Conversations between Tilray and Aphria started 12 months ago. At first, Simon said, Kennedy was not entertaining the idea of a merger, at all.
“We were really not talking about an acquisition. It was just trying to understand what each of us were doing and how it was complimentary,” voiced Simon.
But continued and continual conversations softened him up.
Now, Kennedy seems quite comfortable passing the torch to Simon, leaving his spot as CEO after many years in the spotlight.
“I'm thrilled to announce this today, to have someone with Irwin's knowledge and expertise in public markets, at the helm of the company,” he added.
Simon is eager too. He finally gets to run a public company of a size that’s comparable to the one he had co-founded in the early 90s, The Hain Celestial Group.
“I now find myself in the position to run a company with the same market cap of Hain, if not bigger, in an industry that, if you look at the size of this industry …