December 31, 2018 / 2:42 PM / 10 months ago

BUZZ-Aphria: Drops on concerns over links with bidder Green Growth

** Aphria’s shares drop ~4 pct to C$8.14, pulling away further from Green Growth Brands Ltd’s planned offer price of C$11

** After Green Growth unveiled its hostile all-stock C$2.8 bln bid plan late Thursday, Aphria rose 12.6 pct to close at C$8.52 Friday, still well below the U.S. cannabis retailer’s planned bid price

** There have been concerns about the connections between the two companies; Short-seller Hindenburg Research calls offer here "non-credible and likely an attempt to generate the appearance of demand in the hopes of spurring credible offers"

** GGB’s No.2 shareholder is a fund sponsored by Green Acre Capital, whose board includes Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld, and Aphria has a stake in GGB via investments in fund - Hindenburg Research

** GGB recently listed a current Aphria board member on its own board and other recent directors have “obvious affiliations” with Aphria and related persons, says Hindenburg Research

** GGB CEO Peter Horvath dismisses doubts here and says the offer is "above board and transparent"

** Green Growth had said its offer is based on valuation of C$7/GGB share, while its shares closed at C$5.11 Friday; Aphria says GGB offer based on “hypothetical valuation” of its shares

** APHA has more than halved this year, with a chunk of the losses coming after Hindenburg Research questioned Aphria’s acquisition in Latin America (Reporting by Savio D’Souza)

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