Corona owner makes $4 billion bet on cannabis

A man smokes weed

Canopy shares jumped 33 percent to C$42.95 at 9:53 a.m, giving it a market value of C$9.36 billion. "We're going to be way more global".

Constellation Brands has signed a deal to invest $5 billion in Canopy Growth Corp.to increase its stake in the marijuana company to 38 per cent. Constellation Brands shares fell about 6 percent. The alcoholic beverage company joins rivals, including Molson-Coors Brewing and Anheuser-Busch, in exploring business opportunities in the cannabis sector.

Constellation, the brewer of Corona beer, will raise its stake in Canopy to 38 percent in what the companies described was the biggest investment in the burgeoning marijuana industry yet, according to a statement Wednesday. Heineken's Lagunitas craft-brewing label has launched a brand specializing in nonalcoholic drinks infused with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

"With our unparalleled success in Canada and Europe, Spectrum Cannabis' expanding global operational footprint now covering 11 countries, our active regulatory and global market development efforts, as well as approvals to proceed with the first of many planned clinical trials of cannabis-based medical therapies for both humans and animals, our leadership position in worldwide medical cannabis markets continues to strengthen", said chairman and co-CEO Bruce Linton in a statement. "I think they didn't view themselves as a beverage company so much as an entity that provides those occasions with some kind of lift if you will - and that's an easy way to look at cannabis, not as a threat, but as an alternative or additional".

Under the agreement, Constellation will acquire 104.5 million Canopy shares at a price of $48.60 per share.

Canopy, based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, doesn't now have any operations south of the border, where marijuana is banned federally.

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Linton said Wednesday the money would largely be used to position the licensed producer for worldwide expansion opportunities as cannabis becomes legal in new regions.

The investment is said to be the "largest to date in the cannabis space". Entering the USA may create challenges for its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange, as the bourse has said it may delist marijuana companies that run afoul of US federal law.

Canopy Growth was founded in 2013 and has a presence in 11 countries. Today is all about this morning's transformative announcement, which sends shock waves throughout the sector. That list will probably grow as new markets open up and the company can now make strategic investments with cash instead of "dilutive" shares, he said.

Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton told CNN's Richard Quest in an interview Wednesday that the deal gives Canopy more credibility.

"Constellation's concentration of global cannabis activities exclusively through Canopy, coupled with the investment and its expert capabilities... will be a huge benefit as we look to expand our portfolio in Canada, the United States and emerging cannabis markets around the globe".

Canopy Growth will remain a Canadian company with its headquarters in Smiths Falls, Ontario, and will continue to be led by its existing management team.

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