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Emerald X Purchases MJBIZ, a Leading Cannabis Event And Media Company

The business-to-business event company purchased MJBiz for more than $120 million in cash.

Emerald X  (EEX) - Get Emerald Holding, Inc. Report, a New York-based business-to-business live event and media company owned by Emerald Holding, has purchased MJBiz, one of the leading event producers and content platforms in the cannabis industry, for more than $120 million in cash, plus potential earn outs.

Two Conferences For The Price Of One

As part of the deal, Emerald X will acquire MJBizCon, one of the largest trade shows in the marijuana game. The 11-year old conference, which will be held in Las Vegas from November 15 through the 18, draws more than 35,000 attendees and 1,300 exhibitors from around the world, according to its website.  

But that is not the only conference that Emerald X has purchased, as MJBiz owns The Emerald Conference, which is less industry oriented. Instead, it is more of a cannabis science event dedicated to countering “the black market paranoia and misinformation that has run rampant in this field until recent decades,” through the exchange of information related to cultivation, production, and quality assurance of cannabis products. The next Emerald Conference will take place from February 27 – March 1 at San Diego.

The purchase will also include the prominent industry publications MJBizDaily, MJBizScience, Hemp Industry Daily and MJBizMagazine, which are some of the leading sources for trends and developments in the Cannabis industry and brought in $27 million in revenue last year, according to a statement from the company. 

Why Did Emerald Buy The Bud Conference?

Emerald’s largest shareholder is the Toronto-based investment firm Onex Corp., according to Bloomberg, and the deal is based on potential future payments contingent on the performance of MJBiz through 2022, which could be “anywhere from $30 million to $50 million” in 2023. 

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The company puts on more than 150 events a year in industries ranging from construction to technology, including Outdoor Retailer, ASD Market Week and the International Pizza Expo.

Emerald’s purchase of MJBiz is a sign that, while marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, its popularity is continuing to boom. Recreational cannabis is legal in 19 states, including New York as of last year as well as Guam and the District of Columbia, and it has been decriminalized in 13 others. The medical use of cannabis has been growing since, predictably, California made cannabis legal in 1996, and it is now legal for medical use in 38 states as well as D.C.

Additionally CBD, a legal extract from marijuana that can produce a sense of relaxation without the “high” feeling that comes from THC, has also seen a boom in growth over the years, as it is expected to reach $20 billion in sales by 2024, an increase from $1.9 billion in 2018. Heck, CBD is now so mainstream that even Martha Stewart has her own line.

In short, marijuana and its related products is a booming industry that is likely to only get more mainstream, and Emerald is looking to expand after a rough year. 

Emerald’s market value is estimated to be $282 million by Bloomberg, though it had an initial public offering of $303 million in 2017. But shares of the company fell 26% in the past year as the pandemic caused the mass cancellation of trade shows, though it has organized 43 events since June.