The medicinal cannabis firm, Kanabo, moved into the mainstream healthcare arena by acquiring The GP Service last month. For the sum of £13.4m, Kanabo bolstered its status in the European market by acquiring the UK centred, medical consultation company.
Acquirer, Kanabo is a Tel Aviv based company that distributes medically approved cannabis-derived products worldwide. Research and development occur in Israel; however, the product is sold across several jurisdictions. Kanabo Group has been trading on the London Stock Exchange since March 2021.
The target company (The GP Service) offers an online appointments service to help diagnose and treat patients. Their USP is their ability to electronically deliver prescriptions to a network of 4,200 pharmacies, ensuring their clients receive their medicine efficiently.
Avihu Tamir, Founder and CEO of Kanabo, cited the significance of the acquisition as part of the firm’s strategy to build a pan-European company. Moreover, this acquisition signals the development of the UK’s telemedicine industry. According to a report carried out by Precedence Research, the telemedicine market is growing rapidly due to the increasing adoption of smartphones and the development of IT infrastructure. The way we do healthcare in the UK is changing, and Kanabo has recognised that opportunity.
The other side of the coin is cannabis. Kanabo said that the acquisition would help patients access cannabis products to treat chronic pain and anxiety. Although medicinal cannabis became legalised in the UK in 2018, very few NHS prescriptions have been written to date. This, perhaps, is the risk that Kanabo is taking.
The UK is lagging behind other countries concerning its relationship with medicinal cannabis. Both the general public and medical professionals have concerns about the perceived lack of scientific evidence. Even if they can tick all the regulatory boxes, the Israeli company faces a PR obstacle and needs to communicate the legitimacy of their product.
Gowling WLG advised on the Equity Capital Markets side of the deal. Corporate Partner, Hugh Maule, commented on the innovative and exciting nature of the medical cannabis space.
Asserson advised Kanabo on the Business Law aspect of the acquisition. The firm has a Cannabis Group, which provides regular updates on the latest legal developments in the cannabis world. Their involvement in the deal is unsurprising.
Tamir noted that the acquisition is part of the firm’s growth strategy. They are combining organic growth with M&A to become a household name. Watch this space.
For years, foreign investors and businesses have crossed the British shores through an elitist ticket, baptised golden visa. Formally named Tier 1 Investor Visa, this route has fast-tracked those coming from overseas, frequently including Britain’s rivals, such as Russia and China, into getting residence status by bringing over £2 million to the UK.
Investor visa holders benefit from working and studying in the UK or even only dwelling in the country without doing either. What distinguishes this visa from all the others is that, albeit it lapses after a 2-year absence, no minimum length of time to be spent in the UK is required for preserving the status. The visa is valid for three years, with the opportunity of extending it up to two years.
Eligibility is defined by meeting the following three key criteria:
In this regard, as long as the investment is kept up, there is no limit to the number of times the visa can be renewed.
In addition, it is noteworthy that the Investor visa puts its holders on the road to permanent residence in the UK after five years, embarking on what is known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). As previously outlined, eligibility is strictly linked to not exceeding a 180-day absence from the UK in any consecutive 12-month period and passing the English language and ‘Life in the UK’ tests. Once ILR status is secured, it may be possible to seek citizenship, yet while most investor migrants eventually gain ILR, not all pursue citizenship, for instance, if their country of origin does not permit dual citizenship.
Rolling in it within British borders has now come to an end. The niche route launched in 2008 was scrapped on the 17th of February 2022 at 4 pm by the Home Office, upon the decision of the Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Since such a scheme has helped nearly 2,600 Russian citizens obtain a visa, Patel axed it amidst a clampdown on Russian money laundering, marking ‘the start of our renewed crackdown on fraud and illicit finance’.
The British Home Secretary laid bare ‘I have zero tolerance for abuse of our immigration system’ and insisted this move would be pivotal in tackling ‘corrupt elites who threaten our national security and push dirty money around our cities’. A 12-page statement reported the aforementioned changes to the Immigration Rules (CP 632), flanked by an accompanying explanatory memorandum stating ‘the Government considers this departure from that convention to be necessary and proportionate for reasons of national security and the operation of the immigration system, and to be consistent with the purpose of the closure of the Tier 1 (Investor) route to new applicants’.
The situation is still in its infancy; thus, it remains to be seen how circumstances will evolve and whether a similar route will supersede the golden visa to cope with such a loss of investment without getting involved in even the most trivial misdemeanour.
Nevertheless, although The Home Office is yet to delineate future measures, it has deemed that the current Innovator route would be changed ‘to provide an ambitious investment route which works more effectively in support of the UK’s economy’ and added that settlement is to be ‘conditional on applicants executing an investment strategy that can show genuine job creation and other tangible economic impacts. Passively holding UK investments will no longer be enough to obtain settlement’.