Aurora Cannabis surges after hiring activist investor Peltz as advisor

“I believe Aurora has a solid execution track record, is strongly differentiated from its peers, has achieved integration throughout the value chain and is poised to go to the next level across a range of industry verticals,” Peltz said in the release.

“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.”

The addition of Peltz to the Aurora team represents one of the largest endorsements of the nascent cannabis industry.

Peltz, who founded and serves as CEO of New York-based Trian Partners, has over the decades commanded respect across Wall Street for his investing prowess and ability to reshape companies. As an activist investor, Peltz and Trian Partners take stakes in public companies they believe are undervalued and push management to make changes over several years.

But Peltz will also prove a valuable addition to Aurora for his deep knowledge of the consumer goods industry, where he’s tended to focus his investments. Current investments for the multibillion-dollar fund include a $3.6 billion stake in Procter & Gamble, an $884 million stake in packaged foods giant Mondelez and a longtime, $471 million investment in Wendy’s.

Trian also held shares in PepsiCo until 2016, when the activist investor ultimately dissolved its $2 billion stake after three years of deliberations with management.

“We see a number of potential of growth areas, certainly consumer packaged goods,” Michael Singer, Aurora’s executive chairman, said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “The beverage industry, cosmetics, wellness; we see pharmaceuticals now starting to show interest in our space. There are a number of what we call market segments that we expect to operate in with one or many of these potential partners.”

The addition of the high-profile advisor increase the odds of additional strategic partnerships and is sufficient reason to upgrade Aurora’s stock rating to buy, GMP Securities analyst Martin Landry told clients Wednesday. The analyst nearly tripled his price target on the company to CA$15 from CA$5.50.

“Trian has been involved with a number of consumer packaged goods companies such as PepsiCo, Dr Pepper Snapple, Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, Heinz, Mondelez, among others,” Landry wrote. “We believe he could be instrumental in facilitating discussions with large consumer packaged goods companies.”

Founded in 2006 by CEO Terry Booth, Edmonton, Alberta-based Aurora is one of the world’s largest cannabis producers. Second in market capitalization only to Ontario-based Canopy Growth, Aurora has built revenues and earnings at a dizzying pace in recent years as more jurisdictions approve the adult use of recreational marijuana.

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