The parent company of cannabis lifestyle brand and magazine High Times is going public after being acquired last week by a special-purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC), which valued the company at $250 million.
Origo Acquisition Corp., which trades on the Nasdaq under the “OACQ” ticker, purchased Hightimes Holding Corp., effectively allowing the company to go public without an initial public offering.
The deal is subject to shareholder votes and the usual regulatory scrutiny, but it caps a transitionary year for the iconic marijuana lifestyle brand.
The company moved its headquarters from New York to Miracle Mile in the fall shortly after signing a representation deal with United Talent Agency. Last month, the company’s shareholders, 10 individuals from two families, sold a majority stake to Santa Monica private equity firm Oreva Capital for $70 million. Oreva founder and Managing Partner Adam Levin took over as chief executive of the newly formed Hightimes Holding Corp. after the deal.
The last move – taking the company public – is still shrouded in some mystery. Levin and Origo Chief Executive Edward Fred both issued short statements, but declined to answer additional questions about the transaction through a spokesman.
“High Times is one of few household names in the cannabis industry,” Levin said in a statement. “As a leading authority in a rapidly growing and evolving industry, we believe the public market is the best vehicle for capturing and funding substantial market opportunities and championing the innovations emerging across the globe in this industry.”
Hightimes’ shareholders would retain an 83 percent controlling interest in the company despite technically being the acquired party. Origo shareholders are set to own 17 percent of the new vehicle.
Origo, a blank-check company, was formed in 2014 through an IPO of 4 million shares offered at $10. The outfit is backed by Toronto-based hedge fund Polar Asset Management Partners, formerly Polar Securities Inc.; AQR Capital Management out of Greenwich, Conn.; and New York’s Davidson Kempner Capital Management.
EarlyBirdCapital Inc. acted as financial adviser to Origo. CKR Law served as legal adviser to Hightimes and Ellenoff Grossman & Schole was Origo’s legal advisers.
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