- Complementary, Scalable Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Businesses Strengthen Leadership Position in Canada; Expands U.S. and International Reach through World-Class Cultivation, Manufacturing, Diversified Product Portfolio and Distribution Footprint
- Robust Supply Chain and Operational Efficiencies Expected to Generate Approximately C$100 Million of Pre-Tax Annual Cost Synergies
Aphria Inc. (“Aphria”) (TSX: APHA and Nasdaq: APHA), a leading global cannabis company inspiring and empowering the worldwide community to live their very best life, and Tilray, Inc. (“Tilray”) (Nasdaq: TLRY), a global pioneer in cannabis research, cultivation, production and distribution, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement (the “Agreement”) to combine their businesses and create the world’s largest global cannabis company (the “Combined Company”) based on pro forma revenue. The deal is pursuant to a plan of arrangement (the “Arrangement”) under the Business Corporations Act (Ontario), and the implied pro forma equity value of the Combined Company is approximately C$5.0 billion (US$3.9 billion), based on the share price of Aphria and Tilray at the close of market on December 15, 2020. Following the completion of the Arrangement, the Combined Company will have principal offices in the United States (New York and Seattle), Canada (Toronto, Leamington and Vancouver Island), Portugal and Germany, and it will operate under the Tilray corporate name with shares trading on NASDAQ under ticker symbol “TLRY”.
The Combined Company, supported by low-cost, state-of-the-art cultivation, processing, and manufacturing facilities, will have a complete portfolio of branded Cannabis 2.0 products in Canada. Internationally, the Combined Company will be well-positioned to pursue growth opportunities with Aphria’s medical cannabis and distribution footprint in Germany, and Tilray’s European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (“EU-GMP”) low-cost cannabis production facility in Portugal, which has export capabilities and tariff-free access to the European Union (“EU”) to meet increasing global demand for medical cannabis. In the United States, the Combined Company will have a strong consumer packaged goods presence and infrastructure with two strategic pillars, including SweetWater Brewing Company (“SweetWater”), a cannabis lifestyle branded craft brewer, and Manitoba Harvest, a leading hemp food manufacturer and a pioneer in branded CBD and wellness products. The Combined Company is expected to have a strong, flexible balance sheet, cash balance and access to capital giving it the ability to accelerate growth and deliver attractive returns for stockholders.
Under the terms of the Arrangement, the shareholders of Aphria (the “Aphria Shareholders”) will receive 0.8381 shares (the “Exchange Ratio”) of Tilray for each Aphria common share (each, an “Aphria Share”), while holders of Tilray shares (the “Tilray Stockholders”) will continue to hold their Tilray shares (the “Tilray Shares”) with no adjustment to their holdings. Upon the completion of the Arrangement, Aphria Shareholders will own approximately 62 percent of the outstanding Tilray Shares on a fully diluted basis, resulting in a reverse acquisition of Tilray, representing a premium of 23 percent based on the share price at market close on December 15, 2020 to Tilray shareholders. On a pro forma basis for the last twelve months reported by each company, the Combined Company would have had revenue of C$874 million (US$685 million).
Proven Leadership Team
The Combined Company will be led by a best-in-class management team and board of directors, with strong track records in consumer-packaged goods and cannabis experience internationally. Upon completion of the Arrangement, Aphria’s current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Irwin D. Simon, will lead the Combined Company as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The board of directors will consist of nine members, seven of which, including Mr. Simon, are current Aphria directors and two of which will be from Tilray, including Brendan Kennedy, and one of which is to be designated. Aphria and Tilray are confident that the leadership team and proposed board of directors of the Combined Company provides a strong foundation for the Combined Company to accelerate growth. Additional senior leadership positions at the Combined Company will be named at a later date.
“This is an exciting day for both companies including our 2,500 employees, for the cannabis industry, and for patients and consumers around the world. We are bringing together two world-class companies that share a culture of innovation, brand development and cultivation to enhance our Canadian, U.S., and international scale as we pursue opportunities for accelerated growth with the strength and flexibility of our balance sheet and access to capital,” said Mr. Simon. “Our highly complementary businesses create a combined company with a leading branded product portfolio, including the most comprehensive Cannabis 2.0 product offerings for patients and consumers, along with significant synergies across our operations in Canada, Europe and the United States. Our business combination with Tilray aligns with our strategic focus and emphasis on our highest return priorities as we strive to generate value for all stakeholders.”
“I am honoured to work with Brendan Kennedy, a pioneer in the cannabis industry, and the Tilray team as they join forces with our talented employees at Aphria,” continued Mr. Simon. “I look forward to leading the talented teams of both Aphria and Tilray as we seek to create a leading global cannabis and consumer packaged goods company with a portfolio of medical, wellness and adult-use brands consumers love.”
Mr. Kennedy, Tilray’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are thrilled to bring together two cannabis industry leaders. At this nascent stage of development and expansion of the global cannabis market, we believe companies with leading geographic scale, product range and brand expertise are most likely to benefit long-term. By leveraging our combined strengths and capabilities, we expect to be able to meet the needs of consumers more effectively all over the world and advance patient care. With a strong financial profile, low-cost production, leading brands, distribution network and unique partnerships, we believe the Combined Company will be well-positioned to deliver sustainable, attractive returns for stockholders. I look forward to working with Irwin and the Combined Company’s management team to make our consumer products more accessible around the world.”
Strategic and Financial Benefits
The Combined Company will be the largest global cannabis company based on pro forma revenue for the last twelve months reported by each company with scale and breadth across major geographies and a complete portfolio of market leading brands in the major Cannabis 2.0 product categories. Aphria and Tilray each believe the business combination pursuant to the Arrangement will provide the following financial and strategic benefits, among others:
Financial Strength and Flexibility: The Combined Company will enjoy an attractive financial profile with pro forma revenue of C$874 million (US$685 million) for the last twelve months reported by each company, the highest in the global cannabis industry. In Canada, the combination of Aphria and Tilray will create the leading adult-use cannabis company with gross revenue of C$296 million (US$232 million) in the adult-use market for the twelve months reported by each company. Aphria has generated positive adjusted EBITDA over the last six quarters, which in combination with the synergies to be realized, provides a robust platform for future profitability and cash flow generation for the Combined Company. This, collectively with the strength of the Combined Company’s balance sheet and access to capital, is expected to help accelerate global growth and value for the Combined Company’s stakeholders.
Creates the Leading Canadian Adult-Use Cannabis Licensed Producer: Together, Aphria and Tilray will be the leading adult-use cannabis Canadian Licensed Producer based on revenue for the last twelve months by combining their respective brands, distribution networks and world-class facilities. In Canada’s C$3.1 billion adult-use, retail market, the Combined Company will have one of the lowest cost production operations with its state-of-the-art facilities. In addition, the Combined Company will have a portfolio of carefully curated brands across all consumer segments that are sold through its distribution partners. On a pro forma basis, for the period August to October 2020, the Combined Company would have held a 17.3% retail market share, the largest share held by any single Licensed Producer in Canada and 700 basis points higher than the next closest competitor.
Increases Product Breadth and Commitment to Innovation: Leveraging both Aphria and Tilray’s commitment and culture of innovation and brand building, the Combined Company will serve clients with a complete portfolio of Cannabis 2.0 products and sales and service infrastructure supported by leading distribution partners. Aphria and Tilray’s complementary brands will be available across economy, value, core, premium and premium plus product offerings. In addition, the Combined Company will have a complete breadth of products in every major cannabis category, including flower, pre-roll, oils, capsules, vapes, edibles and beverages.
Establishes an Unrivaled European Platform: The Combined Company will be well-positioned to pursue growth opportunities with its end-to-end EU-GMP supply chain and distribution, which includes Aphria’s German medical cannabis distribution footprint and Tilray’s 2.7 million square foot European EU-GMP low-cost cannabis cultivation and production facility in Portugal. In Germany, Aphria’s wholly-owned subsidiary, CC Pharma GmbH, will provide the Combined Company with distribution capabilities for the Aphria and Tilray medical cannabis brands to more than 13,000 pharmacies. In Portugal, Tilray’s EU-GMP cultivation and production facility will provide the Combined Company with the capacity to cultivate and produce medical cannabis products in order to meet international demand and has export capabilities, which provides tariff-free access to the EU.
Enhances Consumer Packaged Goods Presence and Infrastructure in the U.S.: In the United States, the Combined Company will have a strong consumer packaged goods presence and infrastructure with two strategic pillars, including SweetWater, a cannabis lifestyle branded craft brewer, and Manitoba Harvest, a pioneer in branded hemp, CBD and wellness products with access to 17,000 stores in North America. The Combined Company is expected to leverage SweetWater’s craft beer manufacturing and distribution network to build brand awareness for the Combined Company’s leading brands via craft beers, hard seltzers, and other beverages as it seeks to take advantage of opportunities for both the adult-use and health and wellbeing beverage trends. The Combined Company also expects to pursue the opportunity to expand with new or existing CBD or other cannabinoid brands leveraging Manitoba Harvest’s strong hemp and wellness product platform. When U.S. regulations allow, the Combined Company expects to be well-positioned to compete in the U.S. cannabis market given its existing strong brands and distribution system in addition to its track record of growth in consumer-packaged goods and cannabis.
Positions Combined Company to Continue to Grow in the Beverage Segment: The Combined Company believes it will be well-positioned to pursue an accelerated rate of growth in the Canadian and the U.S. beverage industries by leveraging SweetWater’s innovation, knowledge, and expertise to introduce adult-use cannabis brands via craft beers and other beverages. This includes leveraging Aphria and Tilray’s proven distribution networks in Canada to sell SweetWater’s 420 cannabis lifestyle brand in Canada.
Substantial Synergies: The combination of Aphria and Tilray is expected to deliver approximately C$100 million of annual pre-tax cost synergies within 24 months of the completion of the transaction. The Combined Company expects to achieve cost synergies in the key areas of cultivation and production, cannabis and product purchasing, sales and marketing and corporate expenses. This is expected to include the opportunity for Aphria’s Leamington, Ontario operations to provide additional volume for Tilray’s brands and to replace the need for Tilray to use wholesale cannabis purchases from other licensed producers. Tilray’s London, Ontario facility will also provide Aphria with excess capacity to increase production of additional form factors including their branded edibles and beverages. The Combined Company is considering utilizing Tilray’s existing Nanaimo, British Columbia facility for Aphria’s premium Broken Coast brand to increasingly meet consumer demand for its products. The Combined Company plans to capitalize on opportunities for growth through a broadened product offering and additional form factors, with the aim of increasing adult-use cannabis brand availability across certain Canadian provinces to an expanded customer base with the Combined Company’s scalable infrastructure. Internationally, the Combined Company will have the opportunity to reach additional pharmacies and patients via distribution relationships. The combination is expected to unlock significant shareholder value.
Under the terms of the Agreement, the Arrangement will be carried out by way of a court-approved plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Ontario) and will require the approval of at least two-thirds of the votes cast by the Aphria Shareholders at a special meeting. Approval of a majority of the votes cast by Tilray stockholders will be required to, among other things contemplated by the Agreement, authorize the issuance of Tilray shares to Aphria shareholders pursuant to the Arrangement. Following completion of the Arrangement, Aphria will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tilray, with Aphria shareholders owning approximately 62 percent of Tilray.
Completion of the Arrangement is subject to regulatory and court approvals and other customary closing conditions. Regulatory approvals expected to be required include Competition Bureau (Canada), U.S. HSR and Germany FDI. The Agreement includes certain reciprocal customary provisions, including covenants in respect of the non-solicitation of alternative transactions, a right to match superior proposals and C$65 million (US$50 million) reciprocal termination fee payable under certain circumstances. The Arrangement is expected to close in the second quarter of calendar year 2021 following the receipt of such regulatory approvals, as well as court approval of the Arrangement.
Each of Aphria’s and Tilray’s respective directors and officers and certain principal Tilray Stockholders have entered into voting support agreements agreeing to vote their Aphria Shares or Tilray Shares, as applicable, in favor of the resolutions put before them pursuant to the Agreement.
For further information on the terms and conditions of the Arrangement, please refer to the Agreement in its entirety, which will be available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov. Full details of the Arrangement will be included in a management information circular of Aphria and in a proxy statement of Tilray to be delivered to Aphria Shareholders and the Tilray Stockholders, respectively, in the coming weeks.
Board of Directors’ Approval
Each of Aphria’s and Tilray’s respective board of directors has unanimously approved the Agreement and the Arrangement. Jefferies LLC provided a fairness opinion to the Board of Directors of Aphria on December 15, 2020, stating that, as of the date of such opinion and based upon the scope of review and subject to the assumptions, limitations and qualifications stated in such opinion, the Exchange Ratio is fair, from a financial point of view, to the Aphria Shareholders. Cowen provided a fairness opinion dated December 15, 2020 to the board of directors of Tilray stating that, as of the date of such opinion and based upon and subject to the assumptions, limitations and qualifications stated in such opinion, the Exchange Ratio is fair, from a financial point of view, to Tilray.
Jefferies LLC is serving as financial advisor and DLA Piper LLP (US), DLA Piper (Canada) LLP and Fasken Martineau Dumoulin LLP are acting as legal counsel to Aphria. Cowen is serving as financial advisor and Cooley LLP and Blake, Cassels and Graydon LLP are acting as legal counsel to Tilray.
 Based on the most recently reported quarterly financial statements for Aphria and Tilray.
 Non-GAAP measure which may not be consistent between companies in our industry. See definition in Aphria’s Q1 2021 Management Discussion & Analysis.
 Annualized September 2020 retail sales of C$256 million based on Statistics Canada November 2020 release
 Based on Stifel analyst report by Andrew Carter, dated December 6, 2020, “December 2020 Headset Canada Review”.
About Aphria Inc.
Aphria Inc. is a leading global cannabis company inspiring and empowering the worldwide community to live their very best life. Headquartered in Leamington, Ontario – the greenhouse capital of Canada – Aphria Inc. has been setting the standard for the low-cost production of high-quality cannabis at scale, grown in the most natural conditions possible. Focusing on untapped opportunities and backed by the latest technologies, Aphria Inc. is committed to bringing breakthrough innovation to the global cannabis market. The Company’s portfolio of brands is grounded in expertly researched consumer insights designed to meet the needs of every consumer segment. Rooted in our founders’ multi-generational expertise in commercial agriculture, Aphria Inc. drives sustainable long-term shareholder value through a diversified approach to innovation, strategic partnerships, and global expansion.
Tilray (Nasdaq: TLRY) is a global pioneer in the research, cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis and cannabinoids currently serving tens of thousands of patients and consumers in 15 countries spanning five continents.