CNBC’s Squawk on the Street celebrated 4/20 with Aphria CEO Irwin Simon to talk about the delayed deal with Tilray, opportunities in the European market and more.
Why the delay?
Donning shaggy pandemic hair, Simon plugged subsidiary SweetWater’s cannabis-free ‘420’ craft beer before reassuring viewers that the delayed Tilray shareholder vote isn’t a punt.
While Aphria shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favour of the tie-up on April 15, Tilray’s planned April 16 vote has been delayed to April 30.
“I don’t think Tilray shareholders at all punted,” Irwin said. “It’s just today with retail shareholders out there and apathy in voting, it’s just going to take a little longer in regards to getting the vote done. We will get the vote done, I’m very confident in that.”
Irwin said the deal will help the combined companies expand into US and European markets as adult-use policies hopefully evolve. But he claimed that medical cannabis in Europe is already “major today” in countries like Germany, Portugal, Spain, UK and France.
“I see tremendous opportunity in medical cannabis in Europe,” he said. “You may see legalization happen in Europe before you see it in the US.” he said.
When asked how a Canadian producer can compete with MSOs, Irwin advised his competitors not to make assumptions about what legalization will look like, and reminded viewers that they have money to burn.
“With the size of the new Tilray, with our balance sheet, listen there’s a lot out there for us to buy,” he said. “There’s a lot out there for us to merge with, that we will be a global company.”