Yesterday traders were alarmed to see Aphria (APHA) and Green Growth Brands (GGB) both halted at around 1:00 PM EST. On December 27th,2017 Green Growth Brands made a bid for Aphria when its share-price was vulnerable after the infamous (and now quiet) Aphria shorters did their worst.
One initial thought to the halt yesterday due to pending news was Vic Neufeld’s recent departure from Aphria, combined with Green Growth’s CEO’s unfavourable opinion of management, namely Neufeld. Maybe Neufeld was a roadblock in the deal and now that he was out things could progress forward. However, that theory couldn’t have been further from the truth based on the press release Aphria issued late last night.
Aphria burned the midnight oil to do some proper PR, unlike last time.
According to the press release,
Aphria shareholders are advised to take no action on the Offer until Aphria’s Board of Directors has made a formal recommendation to shareholders. Having received the Offer, the independent committee of Aphria directors (the “Independent Committee“) will consider it with its advisors before making a formal recommendation to Aphria’s Board of Directors. Shareholders will be notified of any recommendation of the Board of Directors through a news release and Directors’ Circular in accordance with applicable securities laws. Shareholders are also encouraged to visit AphriaFuture.ca for more information.
They took a similar stance last time Green Growth wanted in, so is Aphria playing hard to get, wanting a better deal, or is Green Growth kicking a dead horse here? After the Aphria short attack on December 3rd, 2017 there were big questions about the legitimacy of the company, and when the company flopped on its PR/IR strategy the silence became deafening.
Many thought the entire company was a sham. One theory around why Aphria was the short target was its mass influx of newer retail investors who are easier to convince than those who have been around awhile, either way, the short made ripples across financial media. Now, whenever Aphria is involved in a story of any magnitude the general consensus is, ‘here we go again.’
It was a collection of dedicated redditors who uncovered the truth behind the short attack, some referring to it as a short and distort. QCM Capital has since gone quiet, and its talking head Gabriel Grego has since vanished off social media, QCM’s website also disappeared for a week or so.
Only time will tell how this saga will play out, but it sure does not seem like Aphria is interested in a deal, at least not at Green Growth’s valuation of the company.