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Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz resigns as advisor to Aurora Cannabis

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Nelson Peltz is resigning from his strategic advisory role at Aurora Cannabis. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)
Nelson Peltz is resigning from his strategic advisory role at Aurora Cannabis. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Nelson Peltz has resigned as a strategic advisor to Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO)(ACB), ending an 18-month collaboration that dashed expectations for a deal based on the billionaire investor’s mighty rolodex.

The CEO and founding partner of New York-based Trian Fund Management LP was expected to leverage his connections to major U.S. consumer goods firms like PepsiCo (PEP) and Mondelez International (MDLZ) to strike a deal similar to booze giant Constellation Brands’ (STZ) major stake in Canopy Growth (WEED.TO)(CGC).

Edmonton-based Aurora has undergone sweeping changes from its boardroom to its greenhouses since Peltz’s role was announced last March. Under the leadership of new CEO Miguel Martin, the company has a path to the U.S. market through the acquisition of CBD distributor Reliva, where Martin served as CEO prior to the deal.

A consumer packaged goods industry veteran in his own right, Martin recently unveiled a plan to shift Aurora’s focus towards premium cannabis in a bid to achieve profitability by the second quarter of 2021.

Aurora said on Monday that 280 Park ACI Holdings LLC has resigned as senior advisor to the company, effective Sept. 25, 2020. Peltz is the principal at Park ACI Holdings. The announcement was made in a press release for Aurora’s upcoming virtual annual general meeting on November 12.

“The company and Nelson Peltz have concluded their relationship,” an Aurora spokesperson told Yahoo Finance Canada in an emailed statement. “This change is a direct result of Mr. Peltz’s decision to pursue other commitments, and the company appreciates his valuable contributions.”

In March 2019, Aurora granted Peltz options to purchase 19,961,754 common shares at a price of $10.34 per share. The options vested quarterly over a four-year term. If fully exercised, Peltz would have become the second-largest shareholder in Aurora after ETF provider Vanguard Group, according to data compiled at the time by Bloomberg.

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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