Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Circle K Could Be Selling Weed Soon

Couche-Tard, a prominent multinational convenience store operator, has been keen on becoming a top name among cannabis-related investors globally.

International cannabis venture investor Couche-Tard recently disclosed its plans to increase its holdings in Fire & Flower, a cannabis retailing giant. As of December 2021, Couche-Tard owned about 20-21% of the Canadian company’s shares, yet it aspires to acquire more — up to 35% in the coming weeks.

Couche-Tard, a prominent multinational convenience store operator, has been keen on becoming a top name among cannabis-related investors globally. Its resilience can be observed in its quick procurement of substantial shares in Canada’s major cannabis retailer.

cannabis sales
Photo by OlegMalyshev/Getty Images

RELATED: Cannabis Moves Closer To Circle K

This announcement suggests that before the end of the second quarter of the year, Couche-Tard could own as many as 8.2 million Fire & Flower shares. This intending exchange would play out once the Circle K convenience stores exercises its warrants.

Information on the Intending Acquisition

As mentioned earlier, Couche-Tard intends to buy these shares by flexing their warrants as soon as Fire & Flower’s annual earnings are released and published in a few days. Once the acquisition goes through, the Quebec-based convenience store giant would have increased its initial stake by at least 11%. From 14.5% to 35%. In fact, that’s more than double the amount of its existing shares.

Different news release pegs the company’s total amount of Fire & Flower shares at 21.5% of the total amount. They claim the information was let out thanks to a regulatory filing sometime ago.

Who Is Couche-Tard Inc.?

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is a prominent name in the North American convenience and fuel retail scene. The giant corporation operates in more than 20 countries and territories. With more than 14,000 physical stores situated in strategic locations worldwide, Couche-Tard Inc. offers approximately 10,800 areas with road transport fuel.

Alimentation Couche-Tard has an easily noticeable trademark. It is identifiable because it can be found outside some of the biggest independent convenience stores in the U.S. its daughter company, Circle K is another popular venture in the states.

Cannabis Moves Closer To Circle K
Photo by Xnatedawgx via Wikimedia

The parent company is one of the leading forces in the convenience store industry and road transport fuel retail market in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Ireland, and Canada. Poland and Hong Kong SAR are two other locations that feel the company’s presence. Today, Alimentation Couche-Tard employs over 120,000 people across its vast network.

Fire & Flower

Fire & Flower is one of Canada’s leading cannabis retailers. The company is one of the first few to settle into Canada’s cannabis-friendly market.

Fire & Flower is highly respected for its use of a central, tech-powered operations system. The cannabis retail giant has at least 100 corporate-owned stores in different country regions. The company often capitalizes on its tech-developed sister company, Hifyre, to push its retail operations to newer heights. With this, there’s an added independent high-margin revenue stream.

Fire & Flower adeptly guides its customers through the new, sometimes complex, cannabis ecosystem. It achieves this through proper retail practices and educational materials. At the same time, the Hifyre digital retail and analytics platform regularly empowers small-scale retailers with the means to optimize their connections with prospective, new, and existing consumers.

The Canadian-based company has an efficient executive team that strives to combine years of experience from the logistics, retail and technological industries to elevate their cannabis-based business. Some of the brands owned and operated by the Fire & Flower’s multi-banner cannabis retail operations include Friendly Stranger, Happy Dayz, and Hotbox brands.  Fire & Flower Holdings corporation legally owns all its issued and outstanding shares. A few of the company’s retail stores can be found in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory, and Manitoba.

More Details on the Deal

Alimentation Couche-Tard has successfully positioned itself as a strategic investor in the North American cannabis space. The company has plans to expand its operations to other companies and territories, specifically the United States. It plans to use its strategic licensing agreement with the U.S. branch of Fire & Flower to expand into the country. It is still unclear whether or not the company would hold on until progressive changes are introduced to the federal cannabis regulatory regime.

Fire Holdings confirmed that it is aware of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc’s intention to purchase over 8 million of its common shares.

circle K
Photo by Erik Mclean via Pexels

Couche-Tard’s subtle entry into the cannabis market can be traced to July 2019. At that time, the company announced its mandate to provide Fire & Flower with funds to support its expansion plans. In 2019, the ACT invested an estimated amount of $26 million in Fire & Flower. In turn, it received about 9.9% of its total shares. A considerable bulk of the Couche-Tard investment has gone into opening up more corporate stores for the network. The upcoming investment may also be used for the same purpose.

RELATED: Could Convenience Stores One Day Sell Cannabis?

Fire & Flower’s team says it would continue to build on its operational union with the ACT. Once more funding is received, Fire and Flower cannabis retail stores plan to open new stores close to existing Circle K stores in relatively new markets in Canada. A few weeks ago, Fire & Flower disclosed that one of its fully-owned daughter companies, Open Fields Distribution, just attained a one-year cannabis distribution agreement with Manitoba’s liquor and lotteries department.  In other words, Open Fields Distribution would begin to offer distribution of adult-use cannabis items from registered producers to licensed retailers within Manitoba. Additionally, Open Fields also serves areas within and around Saskatchewan.

Bottom Line

More information will be revealed once Alimentation Couche-Tard exercises its warrants. The total exercise price for this shares acquisition will be determined based on the average cost of Fire & Flower’s command shares calculated over the duration of 20 days.

According to the Series B warrant certificate, all the Series B warrant exercise prices must not exceed $18.75 per share, while the minimum price is $4.77.

You can access Fire & Flower’s fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 financial statements on the company’s website.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.


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