Aurora makes CA$100 million splash in cannabis retail

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Two Alberta-based companies are coming together to form, at least for now, one of the largest privately owned networks of retail cannabis outlets in Canada.

Aurora Cannabis is shelling out 103.5 million Canadian dollars ($82.5 million) for a 19.9% ownership interest in Liquor Stores N.A.

Liquor Stores and Aurora said in a news release the investment will be used to establish and launch a network of branded cannabis retail outlets.

An undisclosed number of Liquor Stores’ existing retail outlets will be converted.

The exact number of stores and which provinces they will operate in was not disclosed.

It’s the latest Canadian licensed producer to flesh out a strategy to sell recreational cannabis since Canopy Growth announced plans to open its own stand-alone retail recreational cannabis outlets by this summer.

Aurora plans to increase its stake pending approval by Liquor Stores shareholders of two separate transactions – one to increase the stake to 25% and another to raise it to about 40%

Private retail opportunities for recreational cannabis will exist in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland.

The remaining provinces will rely on a relatively small network of government-owned cannabis stores.

Liquor Stores has over 2,000 retail employees in 240 retail stores in Alberta, British Columbia, Alaska and Kentucky.

Aurora and Canopy are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols ACB and WEED, respectively.

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