Cannabis maker Aurora picks billionaire investor Nelson Peltz as adviser

(Reuters) – Canada’s Aurora Cannabis Inc named billionaire investor … The appointment comes weeks after rival Canopy Growth Corp appointed …

(Reuters) – Canada’s Aurora Cannabis Inc named billionaire investor Nelson Peltz as a strategic adviser on Wednesday, sending the company’s U.S.-listed shares up 11 percent in trading before the bell.

FILE PHOTO: The Logo for Aurora Cannabis Inc., a Canadian licensed cannabis producer, is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The company has offered Peltz an option to buy about 20 million of its shares at C$10.34 a share, a small discount on the stock’s close of C$10.64 on Tuesday.

The stock option will vest ratably over a four-year period on a quarterly basis, Aurora said.

Aurora will tap into Peltz’s extensive experience in the consumer industry and work with him to explore potential partnerships that will expand the company globally.

“We look forward to working with Nelson to further extend our global cannabis industry leadership by aligning Aurora with each of the major market segments cannabis is set to impact,” said Aurora CEO Terry Booth in a statement.

The appointment comes weeks after rival Canopy Growth Corp appointed lifestyle guru Martha Stewart to help develop and launch a line of pot-based products.

Cannabis firms are also looking beyond recreational marijuana to drive sales, and the passing of the U.S. farm bill last year has opened the door for hemp, a cannabis plant with no or extremely low concentrations of “high” inducing THC.

Hemp can be used in foods, organic body care and clothing, among others.

Cannabis companies in Canada have been pouring cash into their businesses to fend off competition as well as develop new products, after the country approved the use of recreational marijuana in October.

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

Peltz, who heads investment management firm Trian Fund Management, has waged battles against several consumer conglomerates, including a push for the separation of Kraft into Mondelez International and Kraft Foods Group in 2012. He won a board seat in Procter & Gamble Co in 2017 after waging what was the largest proxy fight ever.

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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