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(Reuters) — Canopy Growth Corp. said on Thursday it had secured a right to buy Acreage Holdings Inc. for $3.4 billion once the United States legalizes the production and sale of cannabis.
Shares of Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada-based Canopy Growth surged 7.5% after the two companies said the deal value was at a premium of 41.7% over the 30-day volume weighted average price of Acreage subordinate voting shares ending April 16.
"Our right to acquire Acreage secures our entrance strategy into the United States as soon as a federally permissible pathway exists," Canopy Chairman and co-CEO Bruce Linton said.
A growing number of companies are trying to push into the U.S. cannabis industry, with the recreational use of cannabis now legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia and medical marijuana legal in 23 states.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates an addressable market for the global cannabis sector at $166 billion, with the United States accounting for more than one-third.
Reuters had reported on Wednesday that Canopy and Acreage were nearing a deal.
The companies said they would also execute a licensing agreement granting Acreage access to Canopy Growth's brands, including Tweed and Tokyo Smoke, along with other intellectual property.
Once Canopy exercises its right to buy Acreage, it will have access to Canopy's markets beyond the United States, the companies said, adding that they operate independently until then.
Insurance trade groups are praising a legislative effort to ensure that safe harbor is provided for banking and insurance industry participants in cannabis transactions.