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JW Partners' Jason Wild Talks Cannabis, TerrAscend, Stock Picks With Barron's

October 13, 2020 11:37 am
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Jason Wild, CEO of JW Asset Management LLC, is one of the most seasoned U.S. institutional investors in legal cannabis. 

The former pharmacist, who oversees $1 billion in assets, recently chatted with Barron's about his fund.

"From 1998 to 2010, the fund was up 22% annualized, net of fees," he explained, revealing that they "grew assets from $89,000 to $25.5 million."

Buy What You Know

Before venturing into the cannabis industry, Wild utilized the "buy what you know" approach. 

His fund bought Arbor Pharmaceuticals in 2010 for $2.5 million in cash. By the next year, it "had $127 million in sales and $55million in Ebitda," disclosed Wild.

In 2014, they sold a third of the company to KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) at a $1.12 billion valuation. The proceeds were used to invest in five cannabis companies, including Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE:CGC) and Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON).

They were poised to "do Arbor 2.0 in the cannabis space," he said.

Becoming TerrAscend Chair

After an initial investment of $250,000 in TerrAscend Corp. (CSE:TER) (OTCQX:TRSSF), Wild "convinced them to take a CA$52.5 million private placement from me and Canopy Growth." 

The move resulted in Wild becoming TerrAscend's Chairman.

The Canadian company debuted on the U.S. market in February 2019, through the acquisition of San Francisco dispensary chain — Apothecarium — that was followed by the Ilera Healthcare's purchase.

Wild highlighted that they are pursuing a presence in "limited-license states," because they are "less competitive."

And while Terrascend is expanding its footprint in New Jersey, the company is poised to generate CA$ 192 million (US$144.5 million) in 2020 revenue.

Due to the meltdown in Canadian cannabis stocks, they "sold most of the Canadian names."

Wild Picks

As American cannabis operators continue to list their stocks in Canada, Wild favors Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (CSE:CURA) (OTCQX:CURLF), Green Thumb Industries (CSE:GTII) (OTCQX:GTBIF), Trulieve Cannabis Corp (OTCQX:TCNNF), and Cresco Labs (CSE:CL) (OTCQX:CRLBF), as they are "built to last and should all do well."

Courtesy image

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