Aurora to acquire Whistler cannabis company in C$175m all-stock deal

Aurora is set to acquire privately held Whistler Medical Marijuana Corporation in an all-stock deal valued at approximately C$175m.

Headquartered in Whistler, British Columbia, Whistler has become one of Canada’s best known organic cannabis brands.

The all-share transaction includes milestone payments in relation to Whistler achieving certain operational objectives.

Aurora said the buyout will provide it with “a premium and differentiated organic certified product suite, expanding both its medical and adult-use offerings, and reinforcing Aurora’s presence in the well-established west coast cannabis market”.

Founded in 2013, Whistler is one of Canada’s original ten licensed producers, and was the first licensed producer to obtain organic certification and sell a full suite of organic certified cannabis products.

It operates two indoor licensed production facilities, with its first located in Whistler, and the second, a recently licensed, purpose-built facility located a 20-minute drive from the Whistler facility.

“We intend to accelerate the completion of Whistler’s Pemberton expansion project, and leverage our domestic and international distribution channels to increase market reach for their exceptional products.”

Terry Booth, AurorA (pictureD)

Once the second facility reaches full capacity, anticipated to happen by summer 2019, these facilities are anticipated to have a combined production capacity of over 5,000 kg per year.

Whistler sells medical cannabis derivatives internationally to both Australia and the Cayman Islands. Through the addition of Aurora’s deep experience in completing EU GMP certified facilities and its large global distribution network, Aurora plans to pursue additional international export opportunities.

Whistler has achieved positive cash flow since 2015, with EBITDA margins in excess of 30%. The firm has achieved average selling prices in excess of 50% greater than the average Canadian medical market, and maintains a similar premium to provinces for adult-use.

The company’s product is certified by the Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association (FVOPA) and conforms to International Organic Growing Standards. Whistler’s second facility is constructed in compliance with EU GMP standards which, upon certification, will enable the Company to supply organic certified cannabis products to the European market.

“This transaction adds an iconic, organic certified BC-based brand with exceptional traction and a significant price premium in both the medical and retail markets,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora.

“We intend to accelerate the completion of Whistler’s Pemberton expansion project, and leverage our domestic and international distribution channels to increase market reach for their exceptional products. Whistler has established leadership in the organic cannabis market, and we look forward to welcoming Christopher and his team to the Aurora family.”

Christopher Pelz, CEO and Founder of Whistler, added, “With its commitment to the highest product quality standards, as well as its large footprint in both the Canadian and international cannabis markets, Aurora is the ideal partner for Whistler to enhance our growth and margin profile.

“We feel there is a strong cultural fit, and believe that Aurora is the right home for us to maintain our organic craft cultivation identity, while being able to leverage the resources and capabilities of a large and rapidly growing global company.”

Neil Belot, Chief Global Business Development Officer of Aurora, added, “Whistler, the longest operating certified organic cannabis producer in Canada, has an exceptional track record built on the consistent delivery of premium user experiences. This has resulted in strongly-rated products that command among the highest prices in the Canadian adult consumer use industry, targeting the premium organic craft segment in both the consumer and medical markets.

“Furthermore, as the only cannabis producer in the world-renowned resort town of Whistler, British Columbia, the company has developed broad brand appeal, both across Canada and internationally.”

Stoic Advisory Inc. is acting as financial advisor and Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP is acting as legal advisor to Whistler Medical Marijuana Corp. McMillan LLP is acting as legal counsel to Aurora.

Highly acquisitive Aurora has to date brought 15 wholly-owned subsiadires into its fold, including MedReleaf, CanvasRX, Peloton Pharmaceutical, Aurora Deutschland, H2 Biopharma, Urban Cultivator, BC Northern Lights, Larssen Greenhouses, CanniMed Therapeutics, Anandia Labs, HotHouse Consulting, MED Colombia, Agropro, Borela, and ICC Labs.Cannabis Business Worldwide

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