Aphria says review reveals conflict of interest of directors in acquisition

Companies in this story: (TSX:APHA)The Canadian Press LEAMINGTON, Ont. — Cannabis producer Aphria Inc. says a review of its governance procedures revealed certain non-independent directors had conflicting interests in its acquisition of several Latin American companies.The company says a separate review of the takeover of the companies in Jamaica, Argentina and Colombia found the purchase price for the deal to be within an acceptable range, and assets for all three companies were in place.Aphria launched the reviews after short-sellers alleged in December that the acquisitions totalling $280-million were “largely worthless” and the purchase price “vastly inflated” to benefit insiders.Aphria says it will adopt best practices to manage conflicts of interests, after it found some directors had not fully disclosed their conflicts to the board, as part of several recommendations put forth by the review committee.Irwin Simon, Aphria’s independent board chair, says the board will be fully composed of independent directors once the company appoints a permanent CEO. Company CEO Vic Neufeld announced in January that he was stepping down. Aphria’s shares were trading up close to five per cent in mid-morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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