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Oct. 15, 2019, 1:54 p.m. EDT

Canopy Growth's sale of AusCann stake shows a focus shift to core assets and profitability: Jefferies

Canopy Growth Corp.'s (NYS:CGC) (TSE:CA:WEED) announcement earlier Tuesday that it has sold its 13.2% stake in Australian producer AusCann for proceeds of C$6 million ($4.8 million) is a sign that the Canadian company is starting to clear its balance sheet to focus more on core assets and attaining profitability, according to Jefferies. Analysts Owen Bennett and Ryan Tomkins said the increased focus ins welcome, but "we do wonder how much more cleaning up may have to come." The deal is immaterial to either cash of international positioning, they wrote in a note to clients. Canopy had C$2.3 billion of cash as of last quarter, and the Australian market is expected to be just 1% of the Canadian market next year. Canopy Chief Executive Mark Zekulin told the analysts at a July meeting that with all the M&A deals Canopy had conducted, the complexity in the business had become significant. "With Bruce Linton (the old CEO) often saying in interviews past a key part of his and Canopy's strategy was "go into a market, spend and dominate, and then do the same again", we wonder how many assets that have been acquired are indeed non core, especially as the cash Constellation gave Canopy often meant money was no object," they wrote, referring to the $4 billion investment made last year by the brewer of Corona beer. "Further, we wonder how much Canopy would get for these assets when it sells them?" They noted that Hiku, an all-stock deal that closed in September at C$600 million, has still produced minimal revenue. U.S.-listed shares of Canopy were up 6.6% Tuesday, but have fallen 25% in 2019, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (PSE:MJ) has fallen 22%, and the S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) has gained about 20%.

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