An American Success Story, Cannabis Mogul Boris Jordan Of Curaleaf: Meet Our Keynote Speakers

From his beginnings on Wall Street in the 1980s to building and overseeing one of the largest cannabis companies on the East Coast, Boris Jordan, executive chairman at Curaleaf Holdings Inc CURLF, has come a long way.

This year, at the upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, to be held on Apr 20 and Apr 21 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel in Florida, Jordan will deliver the keynote speech and share his vast knowledge and experience across this booming industry.

Jordan's Business Odyssey

Born in New York to European parents of Russian ancestry, Jordan made his fortune in Moscow in the early 1990s.

Jordan's rise began on Wall Street in 1987  when he worked for the now-defunct investment firm Kidder Peabody with a focus on Latin America.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, he assisted Russia's economic transition to capitalism and the launch of the Russian stock market.

Jordan's starting point was the investment bank First Boston, which hired him to lead its Russia operations. In years to follow, First Boston's Moscow division became the most profitable in the company, hence Jordan's relocation to Russia's capital in 1992.

In 1995, Jordan founded Renaissance Capital, an investment bank focused on emerging markets. Three years later, he founded The Sputnik Group, where he continues to work as president and chairman.

In the meantime, Jordan also led Russian TV Channel NTV and Gazprom Media, a subsidiary of Russian natural gas company Gazprom OGZPY until 2003.

In the mid-2000s, Jordan's focus shifted to Europe, where he began purchasing data centers, taking the opportunities that arose following the dot-com burst.

"We were buying data centers all through 2007, and we ended up accumulating the largest company in data center providing in Europe called TeleCity," Jordan told Benzinga earlier. "We ended up taking it public and selling it to Equinix Inc.EQIX"

With his attention turning further west, Jordan's Sputnik Group started buying shares in Innova Exploration – which held assets in the Canadian Bakken - in 2006. A year after, Jordan joined Innova's board, after which Crescent Point Energy Corp CPG acquired the company.

Enters Cannabis

Several years later, around 2013, Jordan began eyeing the U.S. cannabis industry.

Being a product "artificially repressed" by the pharmaceutical and alcohol companies, cannabis got him "very excited," Jordan said, adding that "before 1923 cannabis was used in the United States and all over the world."

Drawing from his experience in Europe, he said that pursuing opportunities in the U.S. cannabis space is similar to investing in Russia - barriers to entry were and are incredibly difficult.

Following the investment in PalliaTech, a company that was developing a system for delivering cannabis to medical patients, Jordan joined up with his partner Joseph Lusardi, who was the first to open a medical marijuana business on the East Coast in Maine and applied for a license in Massachusetts.

With a license for medical marijuana in New Jersey and pending another in New York, the new company was managed by Lusardi, while Jordan and his partners contributed with a $200 million investment. In 2018, PalliaTech changed its name to Curaleaf Holdings.

On Oct 29, the same year, Curaleaf debuted on the Canadian Stock Exchange following a reverse takeover transaction after conducting an oversubscribed private placement in which it raised $400 million, making it the biggest marijuana stock IPO in history at the time. In years to come, Jordan built Curaleaf into one of the largest cannabis worldwide.

"Curaleaf is an American success story founded by Me," he recently said. "If you got a great idea, go out and build it, be aggressive….and go with your first instinct."

Top Pick Among Cannabis MSO Stocks

Curaleaf is currently the largest U.S. multi-state cannabis company. It operates in 23 states with 123 dispensaries under the brand's Curaleaf for wellness and Select for adult use. The company recently reported the record fiscal year 2021 revenue and Adjusted EBITDA of $1.2 billion and $298 million, representing an increase of 93% and 107%, respectively.

Moreover, the company's stock is among the top picks in the multi-state operators' group.

For example, Cantor Fitzgerald's Pablo Zuanic thinks Curaleaf is well-positioned to benefit from the "green wave" in the eastern states, with New Jersey planning to start adult-use sales in the second quarter of the year.

"Curaleaf should be a core holding in any US MSO portfolio because of its breadth and depth, but also because, in our view, it is better placed than most MSOs to face potential disruptive changes at the federal level, like interstate trade," the analyst said in an earlier note.

In addition to opportunities the plant's legalization would bring, looking back at 2020 and how the pandemic affected businesses, Jordan said he recognized the coronavirus health crisis as a stepping stone toward wider public acceptance of cannabis. The pandemic has "broadened the amount of people who are using cannabis," Jordan said.

"It's very important for the cannabis industry to broaden beyond its customary customer that's been there for 30 years," he told Benzinga's Jason Raznick during the Benzinga Virtual Cannabis Capital Conference in October 2020.

Response To Russia-Related Allegations

Faced with the company's stock trading down last month, when several Twitter TWTR users brought up Jordan's Russian and Ukrainian descent and alleged financial ties to Russian companies and oligarchs, he said that the statements on the social network were speculative and xenophobic.

"Being of both Ukrainian and Russian descent, I pray for diplomacy & a peaceful resolution that protects the lives of all citizens on both sides of this conflict," Jordan commented on the rumors exclusively to Benzinga. "U.S. citizens, whether they hold other passports or not, are not subject to and cannot be subject to U.S. economic sanctions. Curaleaf, as an American company, is also not subject to and cannot be subject to U.S. economic sanctions."

About Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

The event will feature traditional keynotes, panel discussions, fireside chats, networking, company presentations as well as investor and celebrity appearances, all of which will take place at the hotel's large exhibit space to facilitate networking opportunities better.

"We've seen cannabis businesses raise tens of millions of dollars at our events, and this year's meeting will be even larger, with a record level of investment capital and top-notch operators," said Jason Raznick, Benzinga's founder and CEO. "We're particularly excited about Irwin's keynote, as he will share his wealth of knowledge and experience with our attendees."

Renowned for being the premier gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors in North America, April's Cannabis Capital Conference returns with an extraordinary edition, recharged with an impressive list of speakers. Check out the full lineup here.

In October, Beringer Capital, a private equity firm focused on the media, marketing services, and technology sectors, acquired a majority stake in Benzinga in a deal valued at $300 million.

Photo: Courtesy of Benzinga

BENZINGA CANNABIS CONFERENCE

Meet the biggest cannabis industry players and make deals that will push the industry forward.

Featuring live company presentations, insider panels, and unmatched access to networking, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is where cannabis executives and entrepreneurs meet.

Join us September 13-14, 2022 at The Palmer House in Chicago, IL.

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