MSO Set to Acquire Chicago’s Last Independent Dispensary

Ayr Wellness announced a $55 million deal to acquire Illinois-based Gentle Ventures, LLC, which owns and operates Dispensary 33 — the last independent cannabis retailer in Chicago.

Full story after the jump.

Florida-based cannabis company Ayr Wellness on Monday announced it will acquire Illinois-based Gentle Ventures, LLC, which owns and operates Dispensary 33, in a $55 million deal. Dispensary 33 has two locations in Chicago in the Anderson and West Loop neighborhoods.

Jonathan Sandelman, founder, chairman, and CEO of Ayr, said in a statement the deal builds on the company’s “existing foundation” in the state, which Sandelman said Ayr “began building just a few months ago” when the company announced an agreement to acquire Herbal Remedies Dispensaries, LLC, which operates two dispensaries in Quincy, for $30 million.

Sandelman also noted that its social equity partner, Land of Lincoln, had been recently selected for a dispensary license in Bloomington.

“In any market where we operate, our goal is to develop scale and meaningful presence,” Sandelman said in a press release.

Dispensary 33 had been the last independent operator in the Windy City, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report. Bryan Zises, Dispensary 33’s co-owner, said the company has passed up on about a dozen other offers from multistate operators before deciding to sell to Ayr.

The company was also the city’s first medical cannabis dispensary, according to the Sun-Times.

“This offer that we’ve accepted wasn’t the highest price, but it was the best fit for what we believe is in the best interest of the people that work for us and for the city as a whole. We did not think that we would find a partner who was a good fit, and so we were prepared to go it alone for as long as necessary. But this was really a partner who made us feel very comfortable about their approach and what they want to do.” Zises to the Sun Times

Ayr currently has dispensaries in Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, according to the company’s website.

The deal to purchase Gentle Ventures is expected to consist of $55 million upfront, including $12 million in cash, $3 million in sellers notes, and $40 million of stock, the company said in the announcement. An earnout is payable if certain adjusted EBITDA performance is achieved through the third quarter of 2022.

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