by: Javier Hasse, Benzinga Staff Writer
High Times Holding Corporation , publisher of the cannabis-focused magazine High Times, announced Thursday the closing of its acquisition of Green Rush Daily in a deal valued around $7 million . The transaction comes more than six months after its founder and CEO Scott McGovern was brought aboard to serve as the parent company's senior executive vice president of publishing.
High Times - which currently trades under Origo Acquisition Corporation NASDAQ: OACQ OTC: OACQF - will give Green Rush's sole proprietor, McGovern, a total of 577,651 Class A shares and $500,000 in cash.
High Times intends to start trading under its own ticker in the NASDAQ during the second quarter of 2018, listing through a Reg A+, crowdfunded, IPO priced at $11.00 per share. At this price, McGovern's stock would be worth $6.4 million.
McGovern will continue to serve as an executive at High Times and receive, as part of his compensation, an additional 289,630 Class B non-voting stock options, to vest over a three-year period at $2.18 per share.
Why It's Important
"As states continue to legalize and Cannabis becomes more and more ingrained into American society, the desire for Cannabis-driven content is reaching an all-time high," High Times' CEO Adam Levin told Benzinga. "With that in mind, we're very excited to welcome Green Rush Daily into the High Times family to help us further satisfy those cravings. We've respected their digital and journalistic capabilities for some time, and are looking forward to sharing best practices and growing these brands side by side."
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Green Rush Daily will continue to operate independently from its New York City location, focusing on cannabis business and finance topics. It will become a part of the High Times family of brands, alongside recognized names like the Cannabis Cup. High Times will get access to Green Rush's 4 million unique monthly visitors, more than 1 million Facebook fans, 128,000 Instagram followers, and 17,200 Twitter devotees.
This acquisition isn't just about High Times getting access to Green Rush Daily's followers, McGovern said. Most analysts and finance experts put too large of a focus on the Cannabis Cup, he said. While it's true this is the company's largest source of revenue nowadays, the VP envisions a different future for High Times.
"Basically anything the cannabis industry holds, we have the ability to go into," he said. "It's just about finding out which opportunities are the most lucrative and obtainable."
Down this lane, McGovern mentioned a few alternatives High Times is working on that will generate a lot of revenue in 2018 and 2019:
- Monetizing High Times' most popular articles by selling related products, like cannabis detox kits.
- Exploring other verticals outside the magazine's classic "stoner culture" approach, getting into medical cannabis and CBD topics, developing a women's portal, etc.
- The company's new site, 420.com, is set to debut soon, with intentions of becoming "the Amazon.com of cannabis."
- The possibility of High Times Holding Corp becoming an umbrella for other big companies like Leafly, allowing multiple cannabis companies to trade in the Nasdaq under one name, leveraging a large market cap.
- Origo, the company into which High Times will merge, recently acquired Penthouse Magazine and several other big media properties. The resulting High Times Holding Corp would be much larger than just High Times, hightimes.com and the Cannabis Cup.
- Hightimes.com, launched in 1995, averages more than 100,000 readers per day.
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