Aurora Cannabis has U.S. billionaire Nelson Peltz as a new strategic adviser

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Michael Ravensdale, Vice President, production and quality for the CannTrust Niagara Greenhouse Facility, holds a handful of cannabis bud during the grand opening event in Fenwick, Ont., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Aurora Cannabis shares are up following news that it has appointed U.S. billionaire Nelson Peltz as a strategic adviser and given him the option to buy a stake in the company.

The Edmonton-based cannabis company says it has granted Peltz options to purchase nearly 20 million common shares at $10.34 per share, slightly below Tuesday’s closing price.

The shares were up more than 12 per cent in early trading, rising to $11.97 _ up from Tuesday’s close of $10.64.

Peltz is CEO and founding partner of Trian Fund Management LP, a multi-billion dollar investment management firm.

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A general view of cannabis plants are shown in a grow room at Up Cannabis Inc., Newstrike Resources??? marijuana greenhouses, in Brantford, Ont. on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

He also serves as the non-executive chairman of The Wendy’s Company and director of The Procter & Gamble Company, and was previously a director of H.J. Heinz Company and Mondelez International Inc.

Aurora said it will work with Peltz to explore potential partnerships for entry into certain market segments, and he will also advise on the cannabis producer’s global expansion strategy.

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

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

The options granted to Peltz will become effective gradually over a four-year period on a quarterly basis, with accelerated vesting if specified events occur. Those events include the consummation of certain transactions and the closing price of Aurora’s common shares reaching certain levels.