Couche-Tard acquires stake in Fire & Flower

The convenience giant has an option to acquire a controlling interest in the cannabis retailer, which hopes to accelerate its expansion.
Fire - Flower Holdings Corp--Fire - Flower Announces Strategic I

Alimentation Couche-Tard, which own the Couche-Tard and Circle K convenience store banners, has made an investment in cannabis retailer Fire & Flower, with a path towards a controlling stake.

Couche-Tard has agreed to buy a 9.9% stake in Fire & Flower for roughly $26 million. The deal will also provide Couche-Tard with three series of common share purchase warrants; if exercised in full, Couche-Tard will get a 50.1% controlling stake in Fire & Flower.

“This investment in Fire & Flower, with a path to a controlling stake, will enable us to leverage their leadership, network and advanced digital platform to accelerate our journey in this new and flourishing sector,” said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard, in a statement. Earlier this year, the company established an agreement with Canopy Growth to license the Tweed brand for a store in London, Ont., after reaching a trademark license agreement with one of the province’s cannabis retail license holders.

A spokesperson for Couche-Tard said in an email to strategy that the investment into Fire & Flower has “absolutely no impact” on its deal with Canopy Growth, saying “both investments are important ones in [its] path towards developing [its] presence in the cannabis sector.”

Fire & Flower has currently opened, or has licenses to open, 24 cannabis retail locations in Canada. It has thus far focused on Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, but is currently seeking licenses for locations in British Columbia and, on Tuesday, announced that it had acquired a retail license for a store located in Whitehorse, Yukon. For it’s part, the company hopes the investment will help it accelerate its growth plan by allowing it to open more stores and potentially access new markets. Couche-Tard operates stores in 25 countries, and Fire & Flower expects the relationship to “positively impact” its ability to grow internationally.

Fire & Flower also owns HiFyre, a digital ecommerce and data platform for the cannabis industry. Couche-Tard said it intends to help the cannabis company “explore additional ways to grow and expand Hifyre’s capabilities and commercialization opportunities.”