Billionaire Nelson Peltz is getting into the cannabis business (ACB)

Aurora Cannabis Inc

Canada's Aurora Cannabis Inc said on Wednesday it had roped in billionaire investor Nelson Peltz as a strategic advisor, sending the company's USA -listed shares up 9 per cent to US$8.65 in trading before the bell.

The billionaire investor will now advise Aurora on its global expansion and drive exploration of prospective partnerships to facilitate Aurora's entry into targeted 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). Peltz will join ACI as a strategic investor and advisor. In exchange, Aurora has granted him options to buy almost 20 million common shares at CAD$10.34.

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". "I also believe that Canadian licensed producers, and Aurora in particular, are well positioned to lead in the development of the worldwide cannabis industry as regulations evolve, with a strong, globally replicable operating model".

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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The back story. Edmonton, Alberta-based Aurora has accumulated Buy ratings lately from analysts who note its 20% market share of Canada's recreational pot sales and efficient production.

Aurora's move to bring in Peltz comes after competitors Canopy Growth and Cronos Group locked up multibillion-dollar investments from respected non-cannabis 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. "In addition, we think ACB will be more patient in partnership selection than its peers, particularly regarding equity investment".

Peltz's stock options will vest ratably over a four-year period on a quarterly basis, Aurora said in a news release.

Available now: Cannabis Professional, the authoritative e-mail newsletter tailored specifically for professionals in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry.



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