High Times Holding Corp., the owner of High Times magazine, announced it will acquire Dope magazine for $11.2 million. Dope magazine currently publishes eight local editions in six states. Its annual circulation is 1 million, including distribution at cannabis retailers. In addition to the magazine, High Times is acquiring Dope's website, events business and staff including CEO George Jage and founders Dave Tran, James Zochondi and Evan Carter, reports Media Post. Already this year, High Times acquired Culture magazine, available in 10 markets across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and Green Rush Daily.
Founded in 2011, DOPE magazine said it has distributed more than 3 million copies of its magazine and has hosted events like the DOPE Cups, Golden Ticket parties, DOPE Industry Awards and Budtender Appreciation Days. DOPE has also built a social media audience of close to half a million followers, and it boasts 400,000 page views to DOPEMagazine.com every month.
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“This convergence of forces will create tremendous opportunities for DOPE to reach millions through many new inventive and creative platforms. What won't change is DOPE‘s signature voice, core values, and commitment to normalizing cannabis in our society through exceptional content,” said the DOPE team in a letter to readers.
This acquisition is part of High Times‘ growth strategy which includes a planned IPO to expand the company's video and event businesses. The IPO started with an “equity crowdfunding campaign” to let investors buy stock directly from the company before the company lists those shares on NASDAQ. Shares are set at a value of $11, a 10 percent discount from the anticipated opening price on NASDAQ.
“Given the fan base that we have created, it is important that we allow our loyal brand followers the opportunity to become equity owners of the company,” said Adam Levin, CEO of High Times. “It was important to me that this offering be open to anyone who wants to join this historic moment, not just those with big brokerage accounts.”
To date, Levin said the company is having a great response to the stock. In addition to expanding the video and events businesses, High Times will use the IPO to invest in its licensing business, audio content and new product lines and brands, reports Media Post.
To help support the effort, iHeartMedia is providing High Times with $10 million in advertising opportunities to promote the IPO, says Media Post.
By its own definition, High Times is much more than a magazine. It is a collection of products and services that attempts to capture and share a culture that is growing rapidly. As more states legalize marijuana and the cannabis culture becomes more mainstream, demand for High Times and its unique content and events the magazine produces will continue to grow. With the company's acquisitions and a pending IPO, it looks like the magazine has big plans for its future and the financial backing and audience to support it.