Business

Canadian stock exchanges' lottery awards POT ticker symbol — but to whom?

A Canadian-listed company has won the right to use the most coveted ticker symbol in the cannabis world — but the winner hasn't been announced.

About 40 companies applied for right to use marijuana-themed ticker

Stock exchanges list companies by short ticker symbols, and about 40 companies wanted to be able to list under the symbol POT. (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)

A Canadian-listed company has won the right to use the most coveted ticker symbol in the cannabis world — but the winner hasn't been announced.

Due to unprecedented demand to use the ticker symbol POT, a consortium of Canadian stock exchanges took the unusual step of agreeing to hand over the rights via a lottery system.

For years, the ticker symbol was the property of Saskatchewan-based PotashCorp, but it recently became available after PotashCorp merged with Agrium last year to create Nutrien, which uses its own new ticker symbol, NTR on the TSX.

Numerous cannabis companies expressed interest in using the POT symbol, because it spells out one of the many colloquialisms for the plant known as cannabis. Given that interest, the exchanges decided to award the rights via a lottery, which happened at the offices of the parent company of the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

About 40 companies applied for the listing, a spokesperson for the TSX told CBC News, and one was awarded the rights to use the symbol. But the exchanges aren't saying who the winner is — nor do they plan to.

"The company will be notified by their exchange," Catherine Kee said. "It is up to the company to make an announcement."

All that was known Wednesday was that the winning bidder is a company that is already listed on a Canadian stock exchange, which means it's currently trading using a different symbol. And it's not even necessarily a cannabis company.

Under the rules of the draw, the winner has 90 days to fill out the appropriate paperwork to make the change official, or the exchanges say they'll have another lottery to award the rights to someone else.

The winner isn't allowed to transfer the rights to the symbol to anyone else.

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