Martello shares spike as Linton spotlights Ottawa firm after Canopy Growth exit


Shares of Ottawa-based Martello Technologies soared in Thursday morning trading on the TSX Venture exchange one day after its chairman Bruce Linton said he’d spend more time focusing on the firm following his departure from Canopy Growth.

Martello’s shares were up 12 cents, or 43 per cent, to reach 38 cents in late afternoon trading – enough to warrant a release from Martello clarifying there had been no material change in its business.

Bruce Linton, the company’s co-chairman and its CEO until late 2017, announced Wednesday that he’d be refocusing his time on Martello after being ousted from Smiths Falls pot producer Canopy Growth. In televised interviews discussing his exit from the cannabis giant Wednesday, Linton sported a Martello shirt.

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What may seem like a minor wardrobe decision may have caused a surge in interest in the Kanata-based cloud communications company.

Martello CEO John Proctor told OBJ Thursday that the firm, which went public on the TSX Venture last September, has struggled to capture wider attention from the market; enabling next-generation broadband communications services is not the easiest offering to explain.

“We are fairly visible in Ottawa. Outside of Ottawa, people can’t spell ‘Martello’,” he said.

Proctor said he believes Linton’s time in the national spotlight bodes well for the Kanata company. Martello is growing revenues and has a solid leadership team that includes Wesley Clover chairman Terry Matthews – Proctor said all it needed was a prompt to get people to “do their homework” on the firm.

“When you’re on the venture exchange, only so many people are interested in you,” he said. “What Bruce did was shine a searchlight on us – and people liked what they saw.”

With Linton leaving his work at one of the world’s largest cannabis companies behind, the new openings in his schedule will give Martello more time to pick his brain. Proctor said the company already leans on Linton’s experience in capital markets, investor relations and mergers and acquisition plays when it can, but he said he’ll be grateful to get more of the serial entrepreneur’s time in the coming months.

“More time from Bruce means more value to Martello,” he said.

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