Shares of Canadian marijuana company Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA) were moving up Monday, as it gets one step closer to its planned merger with Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY). As of 12:15 p.m. EDT today, Aphria and Tilray shares were both trading about 9% higher than Friday's closing price.
Today the companies announced special shareholder meetings will occur in mid-April to approve the previously announced merger. Aphria's special shareholder meeting is scheduled for April 14, and Tilray shareholder votes will be tallied April 16. The boards of directors for both companies unanimously support the merger.
The combination will create one of the largest global cannabis companies. Leading up to the transaction, both companies have continued to expand their businesses.
Last month, Tilray announced a new distribution agreement with U.K. medical cannabis distributor Grow Pharma. Under the agreement, Tilray's pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products will be imported and distributed by Grow Pharma in the U.K. "Regulations are progressing as more and more countries across Europe are recognizing the benefits of medical cannabis," Tilray Europe's managing director, Sascha Mielcarek, said in a statement. Separately, it announced it has exported its first medical cannabis shipment to Spain, and it has received the first and only market authorization for medical cannabis products in Portugal.
Aphria acquired U.S.-based SweetWater Brewing Company last year, giving it infrastructure if marijuana achieves federal legalization in the U.S. Irwin Simon, Aphria's CEO, who will lead the combined company, issued a statement saying, "As a combined company, we expect to continue to pursue [mergers and acquisitions] in the U.S. across the branded consumer products industry that are accretive and can parlay into complementary cannabis products when we are able to do so."
Investors are moving both stocks higher today, signaling approval of the merger and its potential.