Chicago-based cannabis operator Verano acquired in $850 million deal

 
Daily Herald Staff Report
Updated 3/11/2019 5:05 PM
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  • Chicago-based cannabis operator Verano Holdings, which operates medical marijuana dispensaries in St. Charles and Chicago, will be acquired by Harvest Health & Recreation in a $850 million deal that will create the largest U.S. distributor of medical and recreational marijuana.

    Chicago-based cannabis operator Verano Holdings, which operates medical marijuana dispensaries in St. Charles and Chicago, will be acquired by Harvest Health & Recreation in a $850 million deal that will create the largest U.S. distributor of medical and recreational marijuana. Photo courtesy Verano Holdings

Chicago-based cannabis operator Verano Holdings will be acquired by Harvest Health & Recreation in a $850 million deal that will create the largest U.S. distributor of medical and recreational marijuana, the companies announced Monday.

The acquisition will give Phoenix, Arizona-based Harvest the right to operate up to 200 facilities across 16 states and territories. Under the terms, Harvest will obtain the licenses and operations in 11 states and territories, including seven cultivation licenses and 37 retail licenses. The deal gives Harvest the potential to reach more than 150 million Americans, as well as ownership of an interest in nine of Verano's Zen Leaf dispensaries, including one in St. Charles.

The combined company is expected to be operating 30 dispensaries, eight cultivation facilities and seven manufacturing facilities, with expected further expansion, according to a news release. Harvest expects to have over 70 dispensaries, 13 cultivation facilities and 13 manufacturing facilities in operation by the end of the year and expects continued growth in 2020.

"This is a natural match between like-minded entrepreneurs," said George Archos, Verano co-founder and CEO.

Harvest Executive Chairman Jason Vedadi said the acquisition is part of its vision of "creating the world's most valuable cannabis company." The company plans to continue hubs of operation in Arizona and Illinois and projects the company will grow in size as well, with plans to hire as many as 300 people in 2019.

Harvest has a product portfolio of more than 150 product brands and will obtain new technology that will give it the opportunity to expand into the biotech and food and beverage industries.

The all-stock deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

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