Altria reported seeking stake in cannabis firm Aphria

(Aphria.ca)

Reuters — Marlboro maker Altria Group is in talks for a stake in Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc., the Globe and Mail reported on Wednesday, citing multiple sources.

The details of Richmond, Virginia-based Altria’s investment are still being finalized, though it has expressed interest in buying a minority stake in Aphria with the intention of eventually holding a majority, the report said.

Several consumer companies are looking to strike deals with Canada’s cannabis companies as sales of recreational marijuana is legalized in Canada starting Oct. 17.

Altria and Aphria were not immediately available for comment.

Without naming names, Leamington, Ont.-based Aphria said in a statement Wednesday afternoon it “engages in discussions with potential strategic partners and/or investors from time to time.”

However, it added, “there is no agreement, understanding or arrangement in place with a potential investor at this time.”

Aphria, which produces medical marijuana at its Leamington greenhouse facility, last month rolled out a portfolio of “adult-use” brands.

It also sold off the last of its assets in the U.S. cannabis sector last month and said it would focus on “other more immediate capital markets and strategic opportunities in Canada and in other legal markets,” given “the current federal legal framework in the United States.”

Reporting by Debroop Roy in Bangalore. Includes files from Glacier FarmMedia Network staff.

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