June 14, 2024

The Art of Investment

Mastering the Stock Market Strategies

Cannabis Chart Of The Week: How Does Liquidity And Market Cap. Impact Valuation Metrics?

3 min read

This week’s Chart of the Week explores the relationship between market cap., liquidity, and valuation. 

In the current capital-constrained environment, a logical hypothesis would be that valuation metrics should be higher for companies with more robust liquidity, as they have less apparent need for near-term capital raises. Similarly, the Valuation Gap graph in the Viridian Deal Tracker shows that larger cap companies consistently trade at high valuation multiples.

Viridian broke the twenty analyst-covered U.S. Cultivation and retail companies into those with less than $500M market cap on the left and those with more than $500M market cap on the right. We then further separated the companies in each size group into quartiles based on Viridian’s free cash flow adjusted current ratio, which modifies the standard current ratio to account for annualized free cash flow.

The blue bars (measured on the left axis) show median Enterprise Value/consensus 2024 EBITDA estimates. The yellow bars (measured on the right axis) show the median liquidity ratio.

As expected, the median EV/EBITDA ratio for the larger companies on the right was 8.86x, approximately 270 bp above the 6.16x multiple of the smaller companies.

Our intuition for the positive relationship between liquidity and valuation proves true for the under $500M group. The relationship is not perfect, but valuation ratios do rise as liquidity improves.

The relationship, however, is reversed in the larger cap group, with valuation metrics trending downward as liquidity increases. We found a similar reversal when we last explored this topic in the Viridian Chart of the Week on January 24, 2021. At that time, valuations were close to all-time highs; the large-cap group was trading at over 20x NTM EBITDA with unprecedented access to capital. 

Why has the relationship not changed to reflect today’s capital constraints and lower valuations?

  • Perhaps the smaller cap group is more dependent on balance sheet liquidity, whereas the larger caps are still viewed as having sufficient financing availability.

  • Perhaps the four-fold complex of potential catalysts (rescheduling, SAFER, BOIES, and Garland memo has convinced the market that Something is bound to happen.

  • Perhaps positioning in states likely to turn Rec trumps liquidity as a valuation consideration?

  • Investors should continue to monitor the relatively tight liquidity exhibited by many of the companies on the graph.

The Viridian Capital Chart of the Week highlights key investment, valuation and M&A trends taken from the Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker.

The Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker provides the market intelligence that cannabis companies, investors, and acquirers utilize to make informed decisions regarding capital allocation and M&A strategy. The Deal Tracker is a proprietary information service that monitors capital raise and M&A activity in the legal cannabis, CBD, and psychedelics industries. Each week the Tracker aggregates and analyzes all closed deals and segments each according to key metrics:

  • Deals by Industry Sector (To track the flow of capital and M&A Deals by one of 12 Sectors – from Cultivation to Brands to Software)

  • Deal Structure (Equity/Debt for Capital Raises, Cash/Stock/Earnout for M&A) Status of the company announcing the transaction (Public vs. Private)

  • Principals to the Transaction (Issuer/Investor/Lender/Acquirer) Key deal terms (Pricing and Valuation)

  • Key Deal Terms (Deal Size, Valuation, Pricing, Warrants, Cost of Capital)

  • Deals by Location of Issuer/Buyer/Seller (To Track the Flow of Capital and M&A Deals by State and Country)

  • Credit Ratings (Leverage and Liquidity Ratios)

Since its inception in 2015, the Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker has tracked and analyzed more than 2,500 capital raises and 1,000 M&A transactions totaling over $50 billion in aggregate value.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

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