Marijuana grower Tilray soars more than 20% after Peter Thiel-backed fund says it won’t sell

Tilray popped more than 20 percent Friday after its largest shareholder, a private equity fund backed by Peter Thiel, said it will not sell any of its remaining stake following the expiration of the marijuana grower’s IPO lock-up period next week.

“Privateer Holdings strongly believes in Tilray’s long-term global growth strategy and pioneering role in shaping the future of the legal cannabis industry,” said Michael Blue, a managing partner at Privateer, which owns about 80 percent of Tilray. “Given this, we do not have plans to register, sell or distribute the shares Privateer holds in Tilray during the first half of 2019.”

This eased concerns of shareholders in the volatile stock and also caused short sellers betting that Privateer would at least trim its position to close their positions to prevent further losses, a phenomenon known on Wall Street as a short squeeze.

Tilray shares are up nearly 500 percent since their initial public offering on the NASDAQ in July. Such lock-up periods are designed to prevent company insiders—including employees, their friends and family, and venture capitalists—from selling their shares for a set period of time, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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