Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Billionaire joins Aurora Cannabis as strategic adviser

Billionaire joins Aurora Cannabis as strategic adviser

Aurora trades as ACB on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange.

The company announced Wednesday it appointed Nelson Peltz, CEO and founding partner of Trian Fund Management, as a strategic adviser. Aurora's shares jumped more than 7 percent in early trading in NY, reaching as high as $8.60 each.

News that Nelson Peltz, the fearsome hedge fund titan who won the largest proxy battle in history at Procter & Gamble, will join Canadian cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis Inc.

"Nelson is a globally recognized business visionary with a strong track record of constructive engagement to generate accelerated, profitable growth and shareholder value across many industry verticals that are of great interest to us", Aurora CEO Terry Booth said in a press release.

The deal does not involve Peltz joining Aurora's board. In addition, Peltz received options to purchase almost 20 million common shares of Aurora's stock at CAD $10.34 (USD $7.76). Aurora's tone seemed welcoming of Peltz's involvement, saying it will "work collaboratively and strategically to explore potential partnerships that would be the optimal strategic fit for successful entry into each of Aurora's contemplated market segments".

"I believe Aurora has a solid execution track record, is strongly differentiated from its peers, has achieved integration throughout the value chain and is poised to go to the next level", Peltz said in the statement.

His appointment comes weeks after rival Canopy Growth Corp appointed lifestyle guru Martha Stewart to help develop and launch a line of pot-based products. Aurora is a Canadian producer of marijuana that is listed in both Toronto and NY.

Cowen analyst Vivien Azer said Peltz will open doors for Aurora.

Peltz immediately increases the likelihood of strategic partnerships, according to analysts. "We believe he could be instrumental in facilitating discussions with large CPG companies".

He said Peltz's firm Trian has been involved with a number of internationally leading CPG companies such as PepsiCo, Dr Pepper Snapple, Kraft Foods and Heinz.

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