DENVER – POSaBIT has signed an agreement to acquire MJ Platform, Leaf Data Systems, and Ample Organics from Akerna in a $4-million cash deal. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter, pending approval of Akerna shareholders.
Enterprise SaaS company Akerna appears to be taking part in a major pivot, unloading enterprise resource planning platform 365 Cannabis to previous investors at 365 Holdco LLC on January 11 for a cash payment of $500,000 and an agreement to terminate an earn-out payment due and payable to the principals of 365 Holdco LLC with a deemed value of $2,283,806. On its surface, the sale looks like a major loss given the $17 million in cash and stock Akerna paid to acquire 356 Cannabis in October 2021.
Akerna (Nasdaq: KERN) was trading at $1.78 at the closing bell on Thursday, down from its 52-week high of $33. However, the new year has shown significant signs of improvement with the price increasing roughly 158 percent from the end of December through the first few weeks of January. Akerna’s remaining subsidiaries include solo sciences inc, 2732805 Ontario Inc., Viridian Sciences Inc., Trellis Solutions Inc., and Dispensary Mobile LLC.
POSaBIT initiated the discussion leading to the acquisition of MJ Platform, Leaf Data Systems, and Ample Organics about three months ago as part of a strategy to accelerate growth.
“We looked out across the companies that are out there and realized that with the Akerna products, they had a lot to offer but they’ve had challenges,” said POSaBIT co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Ryan Hamlin. Hamlin believes the transaction will help solidify POSaBIT’s spot as one of the market leaders in dispensary-focused point-of-sale software, allowing the company to add more merchants, increase its digital payment penetration, expand into Canada, and become vertically integrated with the addition of cultivation.
According to Hamlin, his team has the experience and engineers in place to turn this acquisition into “the perfect marriage,” especially when it comes to developing and implementing state compliance systems like the ones in Pennsylvania and Utah POSaBIT will inherit.
Akerna’s Leaf Data Systems platform was troublesome for Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, which paid nearly $2 million for the seed-to-sale software. Leaf Data Systems missed its launch deadline in 2017, suffered a data breach in 2018, and eventually was replaced by a simplified state-run system after a multitude of hiccups.
“At a purchase price of 0.4 times 2022 estimated revenue, we are acquiring high-quality software assets at an attractive valuation,” said Hamlin.
While the sale will take a few months to close, Hamlin’s team is ready to begin integrating the new companies.
“In the interim, we’re going to be working closely with their team,” he said. “Our goal is to not leave these companies siloed.”
While the acquisition appears promising for POSaBIT, Akerna’s shedding of business units paints a grim picture for the publicly traded company that cut 59 employees—one-third of its staff—in May and closed a $10-million public offering in June to help with “ongoing debt obligations under our convertible notes, working capital, marketing, product development, and capital expenditures,” according to a June statement.