Cannabis maker Aurora picks billionaire investor Peltz as adviser

Aurora Cannabis shares higher after Peltz comes aboard

Shares of Aurora Cannabis spiked higher Wednesday after the company announced billionaire investor Nelson Peltz joined the pot producer as an advisor. Trian has also pushed for changes at major USA corporations, including Procter & Gamble Co., where he sits on the board; PepsiCo Inc.; Mondelez International Inc., and Family Dollar Stores Inc. 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".

Currently, Peltz sits as the non-executive chairman of Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE: PG), Wendys Co (NASDAQ: WEN), SYSCO Corporation (NYSE: SYY), and Madison Square Garden Co (NYSE: MSG).

"In light of Peltz's past deals as an activist, we do not view the announcement as a step toward driving change to the existing business model (e.g., not a breakup story)", Cowen said. Peltz's hiring won't come cheap - he was granted 20 million options to purchase Aurora shares at $10.34 each that will vest quarterly over a four-year period.

While Coke didn't confirm or deny that it had been in talks with Aurora, the company said it was "closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages".

Peltz said Aurora has a "solid execution track record" and is poised to go to the "next level" across a range of industry verticals.

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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.

"Canadian licensed producers, and Aurora in particular, are well positioned to lead in the development of the global cannabis industry", Peltz said in a statement.

Aurora Cannabis shares were up 8.5% early Wednesday. "We believe he could be instrumental in facilitating discussions with large CPG companies". "We look for ACB to be more methodical and patient in partnership selection than its Canadian peers", she wrote in a research note.

That will be "subject to accelerated vesting based on the occurrence of certain specified events, which include the consummation of certain defined transactions and the closing price of Aurora's common shares being at least CA$31.02 and additionally CA$41.36 for a specified number of trading days".

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