Aurora Cannabis appoints U.S. billionaire Nelson Peltz as strategic adviser

Aurora Cannabis appoints U.S. billionaire Nelson Peltz as strategic adviser

Shares in Aurora Cannabis are jumping after the company announced the appointment of activist investor Nelson Peltz as a senior adviser.

Peltz, the CEO of hedge fund Trian Partners, may be a newcomer to the growing marijuana industry, but he's always been an investor in the munchies.

"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.

Shares of the company jumped 10 percent after it offered Peltz the role and an option to buy almost 20 million shares at C$10.34 a share, a small discount on the stock's close of C$10.64 on Tuesday. He was previously a director at the food companies H.J. Heinz and Mondelez International and was also chairman and CEO of Triarc Companies, which owned Arby's and Snapple, as well as other consumer and industrial businesses.

The announcement sent the company's shares soaring 15.5 percent in early-morning trading to a high $9.20 before moderating to about $8.80 a share.

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

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).

Peltz brings a network of relationships with large potential strategic companies that Aurora could partner with across medical and consumer applications, Cowen and Company analysts said in a note. Domestic diva Martha Stewart, 77, beat him to the punch with a deal last month to help Canada-based pot grower Canopy Growth develop new weed-based products for both people and pets.

"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.

Peter Thiel's medicinal cannabis company Tilray has more than doubled since its initial public offering, closing Tuesday at $72.15 a share.

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