Canada’s premium retail cannabis brand raises additional funds to support further Spiritleaf store expansion in key customer markets
CALGARY, AB, Sept. 14, 2020 /CNW/ – Inner Spirit Holdings Ltd. (“Inner Spirit” or the “Company“) (CSE: ISH), a Canadian company that has established a national network of Spiritleaf retail cannabis stores, today announced a third meaningful investment by an existing institutional shareholder.
The Company has closed a private placement offering (the “Offering“) for aggregate gross proceeds of $720,000, issuing 6,000,000 common shares of the Company (the “Common Shares“) at $0.12 per share to a UK-based independent private equity firm. The Common Shares are subject to a four-month hold period in accordance with applicable securities laws. This is the third private placement financing completed with the UK-based firm, which now holds 9.7% of the issued and outstanding Common Shares, bringing the firm’s total investment in the Company to $2.4 million.
“We appreciate the continued support from a strong and committed institutional partner and we’re pleased with our financial position as we have more than $4.5 million in cash on hand to fuel an expansion that includes adding corporate stores in key markets. The 58 Spiritleaf stores operating across Canada include a select group of corporate stores along with a strong base of franchised locations operated by entrepreneurs serving their local communities,” said Darren Bondar, President and CEO of Inner Spirit.
“Spiritleaf stores across the country have been recording strong operating performance as the network matures. Proceeds from today’s financing will enable us to selectively add new corporate-owned stores in targeted markets within Canada,” said Bondar. At the start of this month, the Ontario market had approximately 140 cannabis retail stores serving a population of 14.7 million residents, which points to a major market opportunity for cannabis retailers.
The Company also just completed its virtual Spirit Bus Tour across Canada over the summer which generated sales growth as well as increased average basket size purchasing by customers. The tour made stops at every Spiritleaf store where Spiritleaf Collective customer benefits program members were able to access exclusive promotions and special edition festival swag. The tour helped the fast-growing Collective program increase to more than 110,000 members.
The Spiritleaf retail cannabis store network currently includes a total of 58 stores (47 franchised and 11 corporate-owned) operating in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Please visit www.spiritleaf.ca for information on store locations and operating hours.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spiritleaf stores are operating with enhanced customer service processes to ensure the safety of employees and customers. Spiritleaf’s Select & Collect service enables customers to pre-shop and order online prior to pick-up in store. Customers can also connect with their local Spiritleaf store through the Collective program to further streamline and individualize the shopping experience.
About Inner Spirit
Inner Spirit Holdings Ltd. (CSE:ISH) is a franchisor and operator of Spiritleaf recreational cannabis stores across Canada. The Spiritleaf network includes franchised and corporate locations, all operated with an entrepreneurial spirit and with the goal of creating deep and lasting ties within local communities. Spiritleaf aims to be the most knowledgeable and trusted source of recreational cannabis by offering a premium consumer experience and quality curated cannabis products. The Company is led by passionate advocates for cannabis who have years of retail, franchise and consumer marketing experience. Spiritleaf holds a Franchisees’ Choice Designation from the Canadian Franchise Association for its award-winning national support centre. The Company’s key industry partners and investors include Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX.V:XLY), HEXO Corp (TSX:HEXO), Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) and Prairie Merchant Corporation. Learn more at www.innerspiritholdings.com and www.spiritleaf.ca.
This news release contains statements and information that, to the extent that they are not historical fact, may constitute “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities legislation. Forward-looking information is typically, but not always, identified by the use of words such as “will” and similar words, including negatives thereof, or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. Forward-looking information in this news release includes, but is not limited to, statements regarding: the proceeds from the Offering enabling the Company to selectively add new corporate-owned stores in targeted markets within Canada. Such forward-looking information is based on various assumptions and factors that may prove to be incorrect, including, but not limited to, factors and assumptions with respect to: the ability of the Company to successfully implement its strategic plans and initiatives and whether such strategic plans and initiatives will yield the expected benefits; and the receipt by the Company of necessary licences from regulatory authorities. Although the Company believes that the assumptions and factors on which such forward-looking information is based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking information because the Company can give no assurance that it will prove to be correct or that any of the events anticipated by such forward-looking information will transpire or occur, or if any of them do so, what benefits the Company will derive therefrom. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks including, but not limited to: the risk that the Company does not receive the necessary retail cannabis licences or that it is not able to open additional retail cannabis stores as anticipated or at all; the ability of management to execute its business strategy, objectives and plans; and the impact of general economic conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. The forward-looking information included in this news release is made as of the date of this news release and the Company does not undertake an obligation to publicly update such forward-looking information to reflect new information, subsequent events or otherwise, unless required by applicable securities legislation.
SOURCE Inner Spirit Holdings Ltd.
For further information: Darren Bondar, President and CEO, Email: [email protected], Phone: 1 (403) 930-9300, www.innerspiritholdings.com
Amazon announces $100 million logistics investment in Mexico – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Daina Beth Solomon
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc said on Thursday it has invested $100 million in opening new warehouses in Mexico, including its first shipping centers outside the populous capital area, in a bid to offer faster deliveries.
The new sites include two so-called fulfillment centers – one near the northern city of Monterrey and another near the central city of Guadalajara – as well as a support building in the State of Mexico, just outside Mexico City.
Amazon also opened 12 delivery stations, bringing its total to 27 across the country, it said.
“The construction of a solid infrastructure network allows the company to stay closer than ever to clients, and thanks to that, it’s possible to offer fast deliveries,” Amazon said in a statement.
Monterrey and Guadalajara are the two biggest metropolitan zones of the country after the sprawling Mexico City area.
The new facilities represent 69,000 square meters (742,710 sq ft) altogether and create 1,500 direct and indirect jobs, Amazon said.
Amazon in total now runs five fulfillment centers, two support buildings and two classification centers in Mexico, where it launched its marketplace in 2015.
Enrique Alfaro, the governor of Jalisco state that is home to Guadalajara, said the new local warehouse would help more small and medium sized businesses ship their products faster and at lower costs.
Amazon is also striving to make inroads in Brazil, where it recently opened its fifth and biggest fulfillment center in the country, with 100,000 square meters (1,076,391 sq ft).
In both countries, which are the biggest economies in Latin America, Amazon is vying with local rivals for shopper loyalty, despite its ranking as the world’s biggest online retailer.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)
Citigroup Beefs Up China Expansion With Investment Bank Plan – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc. is planning to include an investment banking unit in China to take advantage of an expected steady stream of big stock deals as the nation opens up and liberalizes its financial markets, a person familiar said.
In intensifying discussions in recent months, the bank’s senior executives in Asia have been lobbying the bank’s top brass in New York to revive an application as part of a plan to form a China securities business, the person said, asking not to be identified before a final decision is made.
Its local executives last year considered opting out of establishing an investment bank, balking at the costs of hiring at least 35 people as regulations require, people familiar said at the time. The U.S. bank initially planned to focus only on building its brokerage and futures trading business and expanding its custodian services.
The strategy shift, which will require more capital, comes after the introduction of a new technology board in Shanghai, as well as eased rules for selling shares to the public, which is expected to generate lucrative fees on a slew of new economy IPOs over the next few years.
The bank will now need to play catch up with rivals including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. who have already won approval to take control of Chinese securities operations after the country this year opened fully to foreign banks.
Citigroup has tread carefully in China amid increased political tension between the two powers as well as regulatory pressure in the U.S.
The bank has been dogged by issues of risk controls, having fines imposed on it by U.S. regulators. Some executives have expressed concerns it may not receive the blessing by the U.S. Federal Reserve for its China expansion, the person said. The lender was this month assessed a $400 million penalty by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which also demanded the bank seek its approval before “significant new acquisitions” and advance approval for anything beyond “hedging, market making and securitization transactions.”
A Citigroup spokesman declined to comment.
Citigroup is one of four sponsors arranging a massive initial public offering from billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group, which is said to seek to raise about $35 billion with dual listings in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Share sales on the mainland have jumped 63% this year, partly driven by the emergence of the country’s new Nasdaq-style STAR board which opened last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The U.S. bank generates more than $1 billion of revenue a year from its China-based clients — a tenfold increase from a decade ago. Its locally incorporated bank currently has outlets in 12 Chinese cities and held 178 billion yuan ($27 billion) of assets by the end of last year, according to its annual report. It also operates four small lending entities in China, according to its website.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Analysis: U.S. investment bankers' new pitch – Biden's tax hike – The Journal Pioneer
By Joshua Franklin and Chibuike Oguh
(Reuters) – Investment bankers keen to win lucrative assignments have a new pitch for U.S. corporate owners: hire us to sell your company now or pay at least twice as much in taxes if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has his way.
Biden has proposed raising the capital gains tax rate from 20% to 39.6% for those making over $1 million. He would also increase the corporate income tax rate from 21% to 28%.
Biden would have to win the presidency and his Democratic Party would have to gain control of the Senate and keep control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 3 election for his tax proposals to become law. While far from certain, this prospect has been seized on by bankers hungry for new business.
“We urge all of our current and potential clients to take note of the potential forthcoming changes, along with their associated consequences, as they consider an exit strategy for their business in the near future,” Houlihan Lokey Inc bankers wrote in a note earlier this month.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The investment bankers’ pitch is geared toward individuals and families, as well as private equity firms, who control companies and can decide when to sell them. It also targets company founders, who may only sell one business in their lifetime, making it the most important transaction of their lives.
The strategy appears to be working. Sales of privately held U.S. companies totaled a record $253 billion in the third quarter, up fivefold from the second quarter and up 51% from the third quarter of 2019, according to financial data provider Dealogic. This is despite the COVID-19 pandemic suppressing corporate valuations in some sectors.
“Since the summer we have seen a lot of dialogue from family offices about exploring a sale of some assets. Many of these investors are sophisticated about how they handle their affairs from a tax perspective,” said David Perdue, a partner in investment bank PJT Partners Inc’s strategic advisory group.
One of the U.S. companies pursuing a deal because of tax considerations is Asplundh Tree Expert LLC, a family-controlled tree-trimming firm, according to people familiar with the deliberations.
The family that has owned Asplundh since 1928 has been keen to hold onto the company and resisted overtures to sell to private equity firms hungry for a quick flip. When one of these firms, CVC Capital Partners Ltd, convinced the Asplundh family to sell it a minority stake in 2017, it had to use a buyout fund it manages that is dedicated to retaining holdings for a decade or more, rather than cashing out after a few years.
Now the Asplundh family is working with investment bankers to cash out on part of its stake, partly because of its concerns about upcoming changes in the tax system, one of the sources said. It is seeking a valuation for Asplundh of as much as $10 billion, according to the sources. Asplundh did not respond to a request for comment.
Even if Biden wins and implements his tax plan, corporate owners may still have time to cash out. Most of President Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts, which were enacted into law in 2017, became effective in 2018, a year after he came into office.
Still, the big uptick in the divestitures of privately owned companies shows how some of their owners view Biden’s election victory, and subsequent tax changes, as likely.
BEST PRICE VERSUS TAX SAVINGS
Goldman Sachs Group Inc advised on more sales of privately held U.S. companies year-to-date than any other, followed by Morgan Stanley , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp , according to Dealogic.
To be sure, getting the best price is still the overriding consideration for corporate sellers, rather than saving on taxes, investment bankers said. Private equity firms, in particular, are wary of being criticized by investors if they think they sold a company for the tax benefit of buyout fund managers, rather than getting the best price.
“There is a tax consideration and there is a more strategic consideration. The tax consideration only applies if you are ready to sell and could attain attractive valuation multiples that could lead to a successful sale,” said Solon Kentas, co-head of M&A for the Americas at UBS Group AG
(Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Lisa Shumaker)
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