Curaleaf Makes a Pot Deal

The stock market was once again fairly quiet on Wednesday, as the beginning of earnings season brought some mixed views about the state of the overall U.S. economy. Investors remain uncertain how policymakers will respond to the conflicting readings on economic growth. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 21 points to 27,314. The S&P 500(SNPINDEX:^GSPC) fell 4 points to 3,000, and the Nasdaq Composite(NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) declined 8 points to 8,215.

Many investors follow earnings reports as a sign of how well a business is doing fundamentally, but you can also get a sense of where companies are strategically from their announcements between earnings releases. Conagra (NYSE:CAG)discussed its role in the growing meat-alternative market as it sees its brands of meatless products going up against Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) and other food companies. But first, we’ll look at cannabis cultivator Curaleaf Holdings (NASDAQOTH:CURLF) and its announcement that has significant implications for the Massachusetts-based marijuana company’s future.

Curaleaf aims for a big expansion

Shares of Curaleaf Holdings climbed 15% Wednesday morning after the cannabis specialist announced an agreement to acquire an industry peer. Curaleaf will pay about $875 million to buy GR Companies, better known as Grassroots, which is the largest privately held vertically integrated multistate cannabis operator in the U.S. market.

Under the terms of the deal, Grassroots will get $75 million in cash, along with 102.8 million shares of Curaleaf, as well as an additional $40 million in shares based on the Curaleaf stock price immediately prior to closing. That will give Grassroots investors a total of about 16% ownership in the combined company.

The merger brings together two huge American marijuana businesses. Curaleaf operates 48 dispensaries, 13 cultivation sites, and 12 processing sites in 12 different states. Grassroots has facilities in 11 states, and most of them are areas in which Curaleaf has no current presence. That includes key markets like…

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