Ex-Hooters Franchisee Plans to Raise Up to $172.5M to Enter Cannabis Industry

January 09, 2020

A former hedge fund manager, Hooters franchise owner and blueberry farm president hopes to raise up to $172.5 million to enter the cannabis industry.

William F. “Mickey” Harley III of Massapequa is chief executive of Woodbury-based “blank check” company Greenrose Acquisition Corp., which filed for an initial public offering to raise the capital.

Alon Kapen, a securities lawyer at Uniondale-based Farrell Fritz, said the cannabis business is attracting attention despite its illegal status under federal law.

“There’s a lot of momentum in this industry,” he said. “A lot of people are identifying this as a tremendous opportunity, but it’s not without risk.”

Kapen said that stricter SEC regulations, including some that he deems overly burdensome, have made blank check companies more respectable.

“They were, quite frankly, being used as a vehicle for fraud,” he said of blank check companies. “In the real world, a bad reputation is hard to shake off.”

Kapen said that blank check companies accounted for about 20% of U.S. IPOs in 2018 and slightly less in terms of total dollars raised.

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  • Related Practice Areas: Emerging Companies & Venture Capital
  • Featured Attorneys: Alon Y. Kapen
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