Altria / Cannabis: striped gold

There's a first time for everything, it's not a cigarette maker like Altria that we'll learn. The snuffbox shows Marlboro Cowboy the delights of legalized cannabis by taking 45% of the fourth Canadian producer by market capitalization, Cronos, for $ 1.8 billion. But this first time leaves a slight feeling of "bad travel" to the shareholders of the American group.

This is not just the extraordinary assessment of the Toronto company. Equivalent to 439 times the turnover of the last twelve months, the price of this big puff is lost in spirals two and a half times more dense than that of the capital increase of Canopy Growth this summer by the spirits Constellation Brands. Even the prize (78% on the price before the confirmation of the discussions) is about half of the time.

The law of supply and demand, however, is ruthless, and these clothespins are worth the gold when the other spirits of the actor, Diageo, are prancing. The expected growth of the cannabis market in the United States (25% per year by 2025 according to experts) is also hallucinatory in the eyes of Altria, which sees its traditional stores slowly go up in smoke.

The choice of Cronos is however more questionable. Although one of the pioneers of therapeutic cannabis, it has been distanced from rivals Canopy, Aurora and Tilray and has invested little in research, as pointed out at the end of August, the "hedge fund" Citron Research. Probably, Altria prefers to keep enough money to pay for another breath, this time, perhaps that of the leader Juul.

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