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Group led by weed veteran Chuck Rifici could buy Pornhub

Canopy Growth and Auxly Group founder Chuck Rifici’s new investor group Bruinen has been in talks with Pornhub — yes, the porn site — about a potential acquisition, according to a scoop from Insider. (And anyone that knows what “Bruinen” is certainly also knows what Pornhub is all about.)

Canadian content

Pornhub is Canadian-owned by Mindgeek, who posted more than $460 million in revenue in 2018, according to the story. It was in the news last winter after 40 people sued them, saying they had been sex trafficked for content hosted on the site. One victim told VICE she had been told her videos wouldn’t appear on the internet. Even after multiple complaints, she said the site didn’t take it down (they say they’ve since made changes).

Rifici staying mum

Not much else is known about the talks, and Rifici isn’t ready to share. “I’m always looking at different deals and my team at Bruinen is exploring a number of opportunities, but until there is something to announce progress on, I have no further comment,” he told Insider.

Bumpy road

Rifici — who describes himself as a “Dad, husband, atheist, gamer, Gumballer, founder” in his Twitter bio — founded Canopy Growth (then-called Tweed Marijuana) with Bruce Linton in 2013. He was famously fired from Canopy in 2014, according to the Ottawa Citizen and he sued for wrongful dismissal, seeking $230,000 (which was equal to 12 months of severance pay as opposed to the four months he received), and an additional $100,000 for mental distress. 

Canopy countered with their own claim, saying Rifici’s performance was “unsatisfactory.” After serving on three cannabis boards, he founded Auxly in 2017.

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