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Cannabis Tilray shares pop in U.S. trading debut after raising US$153-million in IPO

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Shares of Tilray Inc. jumped more than 20 per cent on Thursday morning after the Canadian cannabis grower raised US$153-million in its initial public offering.

High investor demand in the deal made it possible for the Nanaimo, B.C.-based company to sell its new stock to investors at a higher price than initially anticipated. Tilray priced nine million shares at US$17 apiece, above its previously disclosed range of US$14 to US$16, the company said late Wednesday. That valued the cultivator, which sells its medical marijuana products to patients in 10 countries, at US$1.6-billion.

Tilray has listed its stock in the United States on the Nasdaq, where shares were up 22 per cent, or US$3.70, to US$20.70 at 10:40 a.m.

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While it’s the first Canadian marijuana grower to make its debut on a U.S. stock market, it is the country’s last major legal marijuana producer to go public. The stocks being offered to investors are subordinate voting shares that carry one vote each. Seattle’s Privateer Holdings Inc., the private equity firm that founded Tilray in 2013, owns all of the firm’s multiple-voting shares. In an earlier regulatory filing, Tilray said this higher-ranked stock would have three votes apiece but amended its paperwork this week to boost Privateer’s control in the company, now entitling these shares to 10 votes apiece.

Tilray raised US$111-million from investors in the U.S. and another $56-million in Canada and elsewhere.

The company plans to spend US$53-million of the money it’s raised to expand its production facilities, US$37-million to repay debt to Privateer and the rest to fund working capital and future acquisitions.

The offering was led by investment banks Cowen and Co. LLC and BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. The underwriters have an option to buy another 1.35 million shares.

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