High Times makes bold move into marijuana retail with $80 million deal

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The owner of pioneering cannabis magazine High Times said Tuesday it is acquiring 13 operating and planned marijuana retail stores in California for $80 million.

The purchase, which is being made mostly in stock, reflects an aggressive move into retail under the company’s new management team.

Los Angeles-based Hightimes Holding Corp. is acquiring the stores from Arizona-based Harvest Health & Recreation, one of the largest multistate marijuana operators in the country.

Harvest will become a “significant” shareholder in Hightimes Holding, according to a news release.

The existing retail outlets and planned stores are in Oakland, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and other areas of California, according to a regulatory filing. Hightimes Holding said it will redesign and rebrand the stores under the High Times logo.

The company is paying $5 million in cash, $7.5 million in the form of a one-year, 10%-interest promissory note and $67.5 million in preferred stock, according to a Harvest news release.

Hightimes Holding said it aims to close the acquisition on June 30, pending regulatory approvals.

The company, which has been looking to diversify, signaled a potential move into retail in January, when it appointed Stormy Simon, former president of online retailer Overstock.com, as its new CEO. Simon replaced Kraig Fox.

Hightimes Holding said it still is preparing to make a long-delayed initial public offering of stock.

Last month, the company signed a letter of intent to acquire California-based Humboldt Heritage, which has cultivation and processing facilities in Humboldt County.