TORONTO – RIV Capital Inc. (“RIV Capital” or the “Company”) (CSE: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF), an acquisition and investment firm focused on building a leading multistate platform with the strongest portfolio of cannabis brands in key strategic markets across the United States, today announced that it has entered into a settlement agreement that has resulted in JW Asset Management, LLC (“JWAM”) consenting to the dismissal of its application related to the Company’s acquisition of Etain, LLC and Etain IP, LLC.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, RIV Capital has repurchased for cancellation all RIV Capital Class A common shares currently owned or controlled by JWAM and its affiliates (the “JWAM Shares”), amounting to 33,733,334 shares, for an aggregate purchase price of U.S.$19,625,000. RIV Capital has also reimbursed certain legal expenses incurred by JWAM as part of its application and related matters in the amount of U.S.$375,000. RIV Capital funded such amounts with cash on hand. As part of the settlement, JWAM and its affiliated funds have also withdrawn their requisition for a special meeting of the Company’s shareholders currently scheduled for June 6, 2023, which meeting will be cancelled by the Company.
JWAM filed the application against the Company in May 2022, soon after RIV Capital acquired ownership and control of Etain, LLC and Etain IP, LLC, owners and operators of legally licensed cannabis cultivation and retail dispensaries in the state of New York. In the application, JWAM sought a remedy requiring the JWAM Shares to be repurchased by the Company at a price of C$1.65 per share.
“I am glad to have reached a mutually beneficial agreement that enables both parties to move forward in a positive manner," said Mark Sims, Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer of RIV Capital. “In our view, our share price simply does not reflect the intrinsic value of our unique assets - industry-leading liquidity, reputable strategic partner, and vertical license in New York. Our Board of Directors, on the recommendation of the Conflicts Review Committee, which is comprised solely of independent directors, determined that this settlement is in the best interest of the Company, as it mitigates the risks associated with the application and the remedies sought by JWAM. Now that these claims have been resolved, we can focus on continuing to operationalize New York, in addition to exploring a range of opportunities inside and outside of New York as we seek to build our platform going forward.”
The Company also announced today that The Hawthorne Collective, Inc. (“The Hawthorne Collective”) has advised the Company that the litigation between The Hawthorne Collective, JWAM, Jason Wild and certain related parties of JWAM has been settled. The Hawthorne Collective has advised the Company that under the settlement, in return for a withdrawal of the existing litigation and other consideration, Jason Wild and JWAM have agreed, among other things, not to take any action that would interfere with The Hawthorne Collective’s agreements with the Company, or any rights set forth in those agreements.
The repurchase of the JWAM Shares from funds managed by JWAM and resident in the United States is considered to be a “related party” transaction under Multilateral Instrument 61-101 – Protection of Minority Security Holders in Special Transactions (“MI 61-101”), as JWAM beneficially owns and controls (indirectly through its funds) 33,733,334 of the issued and outstanding shares, representing approximately 19.77% of all issued and outstanding shares.
The Company is exempt from the formal valuation requirements of MI 61-101 pursuant to section 5.5(b) of MI 61-101 – Issuer Not Listed on Specified Markets, and from the minority approval requirements of MI 61-101 pursuant to section 5.7(c) – Other Transactions Exempt from Formal Valuation as The Hawthorne Collective, a control person of the Company pursuant to MI 61-101, and a party that is at arm’s length to JWAM and not an interested party in the repurchase, has advised the Company in writing that it supports the repurchase of the JWAM shares pursuant to the settlement agreement.
The closing of the repurchase occurred less than 21 days following the filing of the material change report related to the transaction. The Company believes that this shorter period is reasonable and necessary, as the immediate repurchase was a prerequisite to resolution of the JWAM matter prior to the issuance of a decision on the application.
RIV Capital is an acquisition and investment firm with a focus on building a leading multistate platform with one of the strongest portfolios of brands in key strategic U.S. markets. Backed by in-house expertise and cannabis domain knowledge, RIV Capital aims to grow its own brands and partner with established U.S. cannabis operators and brands to bring them to new markets and build market share. RIV Capital established the foundational building blocks of its active U.S. strategy with its previously announced transaction involving Etain, LLC and Etain IP LLC. Through its strategic relationship with The Hawthorne Collective, a subsidiary of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, RIV Capital is The Hawthorne Collective’s preferred vehicle for cannabis-related investments not under the purview of other ScottsMiracle-Gro subsidiaries.
This news release contains statements which constitute “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including statements regarding the plans, intentions, beliefs and current expectations of RIV Capital and its portfolio companies with respect to future business activities and operating performance. Forward-looking information is often identified by the words “may”, “would”, “could”, “should”, “will”, “intend”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect” or similar expressions and includes information regarding the repurchase by the Company of the JWAM Shares, the impact and anticipated benefits of the repurchase and settlement with JWAM, the Company’s strategies, objectives, goals, opportunities and plans; and expectations for other economic, business, and/or competitive factors.
Investors are cautioned that forward-looking information is not based on historical fact but instead reflects management’s expectations, estimates or projections concerning future results or events based on the opinions, assumptions and estimates of management considered reasonable at the date the statements are made. Although RIV Capital believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable, such information involves risks and uncertainties, and undue reliance should not be placed on such information, as unknown or unpredictable factors could have material adverse effects on future results, performance or achievements of RIV Capital or its portfolio companies.
Among the key factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information are the following: the Company’s ability to execute its go-forward strategy; stock market volatility; changes in the business activities, focus and plans of the Company, Etain and the Company’s investees and the timing associated therewith; the timing of any changes to federal laws in the U.S. to allow for the general cultivation, distribution, and possession of cannabis; regulatory and licensing risks; changes in cannabis industry growth and trends; changes in general economic, business and political conditions, including changes in the financial markets; litigation risks; the global regulatory landscape and enforcement related to cannabis, including political risks and risks relating to regulatory change; risks relating to anti-money laundering laws; compliance with extensive government regulation, including RIV Capital’s interpretation of such regulation; public opinion and perception of the cannabis industry; divestiture risks; and the risk factors set out in RIV Capital's management’s discussion and analysis and annual information form filed with the Canadian securities regulators and available on RIV Capital's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
The Company has invested in and acquired, and intends to in the future invest in and/or acquire, companies that are involved in the manufacture, possession, use, sale, and distribution of cannabis in the recreational and medicinal cannabis marketplace in the United States. Local state laws where such operations occur permit such activities, however, investors should note that there are significant legal restrictions and regulations that govern the cannabis industry in the United States. Cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal under federal law in the United States to, among other things, cultivate, distribute or possess cannabis in the United States. Financial transactions involving proceeds generated by, or intended to promote, cannabis-related business activities in the United States may form the basis for prosecution under applicable U.S. federal money laundering legislation.
While the approach to enforcement of such laws by the federal government in the United States has trended toward non-enforcement against individuals and businesses that comply with recreational and medicinal cannabis programs in states where such programs are legal, strict compliance with state laws with respect to cannabis will neither absolve the Company of liability under U.S. federal law, nor will it provide a defense to any federal proceeding which may be brought against the Company. The enforcement of federal laws in the United States is a significant risk to the business of the Company and any proceedings brought against the Company thereunder may adversely affect the Company's operations and financial performance.
Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking information prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as intended, planned, anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Although RIV Capital has attempted to identify important risks, uncertainties and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be others that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. RIV Capital does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update this forward-looking information except as otherwise required by applicable law.
SOURCE RIV Capital Inc.
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