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Constellation Brands exercises Canopy Growth warrants

FILE PHOTO: A sign featuring Canopy Growth Corporation's logo is pictured at their facility in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, January 4, 2018 .Picture taken January 4, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

(Reuters) - Corona beer maker Constellation Brands Inc's STZ.N subsidiary has exercised warrants to buy shares of Canopy Growth Corp WEED.TO, increasing its stake to 38.6% in the Canadian marijuana producer.

U.S.-listed shares of Canopy CGC.N were up nearly 13% in extended trading.

The warrants, which were originally issued on Nov. 2, 2017, were exercised at C$12.9783 per common share for a total of about C$245 million ($174 million), the companies said on Friday.

The common shares represented about 5.1% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Canopy.

Constellation now indirectly holds a total of 142.25 million common shares of Canopy, 139.75 million warrants to purchase common shares and C$200 million principal amount of senior notes.

“While global legalization of cannabis is still in its infancy, we continue to believe the long-term opportunity in this evolving market is substantial,” Constellation Chief Executive Officer Bill Newlands said.

Constellation had said earlier in the year that it does not plan to make any additional cash contributions to Canopy beyond the exercise of the warrants. The company was one of the first major alcohol producers to enter the growing cannabis industry when it took the stake in Canopy in 2017.

It has since had to record charges in various quarters due to the decrease in the fair value of its over $4 billion investment as Canadian weed producers struggle to turn a profit due to lower-than-expected demand, while expansions hit sales and lift costs.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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