Marl­boro maker places $1.8B bet on Cana­dian pot provider

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - NATION & WORLD -

NEW YORK — One of the world’s big­gest tobacco com­pa­nies is div­ing into the cannabis mar­ket with a $1.8 bil­lion buy-in.

Marl­boro maker Al­tria Group Inc. is tak­ing a 45 per­cent stake in Cronos Group, the Cana­dian med­i­cal and recre­ational mar­i­juana provider said Fri­day.

The deal in­cludes a war­rant to ac­quire ad­di­tional shares over the next four years that could give Al­tria, which is based in Rich­mond, Va., a 55 per­cent own­er­ship stake in the Toronto com­pany. That would mean Al­tria’s in­vest­ment would be in the same league as the $4 bil­lion spent ear­lier this year by Con­stel­la­tion Brands to ac­quire shares of Canopy Growth Corp., an­other Cana­dian pot pro­ducer.

Con­sumers are ex­pected to spend $57 bil­lion per year world­wide on le­gal cannabis by 2027.

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