What’s in a name? Everything, apparently.
A tiny Vancouver-based cannabis lifestyle company changed its stock ticker from YOLO to POT this week after beating out about 40 other publicly-traded companies for the coveted ticker symbol. Its share price has exploded, bouncing around––surging more than 130 percent––since it announced that it won the name lottery.
Nothing significant has changed since last week in terms of its business (it operates in Canada and US states where cannabis is legal, including California and Arizona), other than the ticker name.
It started trading under the new name on the Canadian Securities Exchange yesterday and saw its stock price bounce around, mostly higher. Vancouver Unlimited’s CEO Paul Chu tells VICE the attention they’ve gotten over the last few days, ever since it was announced that they won––has been unreal. “Before we knew it, our website is blowing up, everybody’s phone is blowing up.”
A ticker symbol or stock symbol is an abbreviation to uniquely identify publicly-traded shares of a particular company. Think of it as a stock’s nickname. It’s a throwback to a time when most trading wasn’t done online, and ticker symbols were printed on the ticker tape––long, narrow pieces of paper that stock quotes were printed on. It was called ‘ticker tape’ because the old-timey machines used to make a ticking sound as they printed.
Tons of demand for the ‘POT’ ticker symbol prompted Canada’s major stock exchanges to hold a lottery for the coveted moniker. About 40 publicly-traded companies threw their name in the ring but only Weekend Unlimited, emerged victorious last week.
The POT ticker was on the sidelines for about a year after Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan gave it up in early 2018 after it merged with Agrium, creating a new potash firm called Nutrien. Potash is a group of nutrients that are mainly used in fertilizer.
Some ticker symbols are obvious––Apple is AAPL. Some are catchy like Canopy Growth Corporation’s WEED. Harley-Davidson Motorcycles trades under HOG.
Weekend Unlimited is listed on the (CSE), which is home to many small names in emerging industries like cannabis and blockchain technology. Weekend Unlimited began trading on the CSE with the YOLO ticker on October 15––two days before recreational marijuana became legal across Canada. Its stock price took a major tumble after legalization. In December it lost nearly 70 percent of its value since it began listing as YOLO (that was a time of an industry-wide selloff that affected some of the biggest names in cannabis as well).
Chu says he’s never won anything before, but winning the POT ticker is a game-changer because “people who have an affinity for the plant and our products love the term POT.”
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