Ex-Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton Buys Shares in the Company That Fired Him

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August 20, 2019

Former Canopy Growth co-CEO Bruce Linton has no hard feelings against the company that fired him ー at least not if you look at his stock holdings. The ousted cannabis industry executive took advantage of a stock-rattling quarter of Canopy earnings to buy more shares in the company, and he's recommending other investors follow suit.

"I just think you should show support, and one way to be able to say that I like this is to go buy some. And then when people ask, 'Do you like it?' You say, 'I didn't sell any stock. I bought.' And so then I think it says to people, maybe I should look at this," Linton told Cheddar on Tuesday.

Linton's tenure at Canopy Growth, which he founded in Smith Falls, Ontario, in 2013 came to an abrupt end in July after Canopy board members voted to oust him from his role as CEO as well as from the company's board. The decision came after a weak set of earnings from Canopy that prompted William Newlands, CEO of Canopy's largest shareholder Constellation Brands ($STZ), to say he was "not pleased" with the cannabis company's results. Canopy's next set of earnings weren't much better. Once analysts and investors got past the initial sticker shock of a $960 million loss, the company still reported sliding market share and slimming decelerating revenue.

But Linton shrugged off the latest results, arguing the stock's losses were partially seasonal, and top line misses were related to how young the cannabis industry still is. He added that much of Constellations' and others investors' disappointment ー both in him and in the company's latest earnings ー has to do with a misalignment of values.

"The cannabis space is filled with a bunch of companies that are growing really rapidly, but don't have positive cash flow. Ultimately there's always going to be a conflict if you are the big money company with 90-day mentality shareholders coming into the rapid growth company which has a 90-month plan. that's always going to be the fundamental difference of how do you make decisions," he said.

But he was grateful too, he said, in the support he's received since his departure.

"What I like is how many people who had reached out, who are shareholders, who are coworkers, and encouraged me not to leave the sector but find more things to do," he said.

As for those other "things to do," Linton has been intentionally mysterious. He said he'll continue his work with two companies outside of the cannabis space, his startup Ruckify and Martello Technologies, and would wait until September to make any official announcement about his cannabis entanglements.

Despite his evasiveness, Linton did offer some hints of what types of companies he would align himself with, like one global cannabis company, one company involving cannabis animal care, one U.S.-based multistate operator or single state operator, and one ancillary company, likely in media ー perhaps, he said, at an organization like "High Times," which he complimented for its "terrific" traffic and unique properties.

"I'm going to do three things minimum in the cannabis space, and it's simply because I've learned enough I think I can apply it faster this time," he said.

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