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This Billionaire Investor Was Supposed To Save Aurora Cannabis. What Happened?

Aurora Cannabis is having a tough go

It would be an understatement to say that Canadian pot producer Aurora Cannabis is having a tough go. The company is coming off a disappointing fourth quarter in which its sales declined 5% from the previous period, and it is forecasting revenue to continue its fall in the next quarter. It has a new CEO, but there are no signs that the leadership switch will provide any immediate fixes. Its shares are already down more than 80% this year and could continue to fall even further. Needless to say, this is not what investors were hoping for.

When billionaire investor Nelson Peltz joined Aurora in 2019, many investors saw him as someone who could add stability and unlock growth opportunities, by using his connections to broker a deal with a company from another industry, not unlike the arrangement rival Canopy Growth has with Constellation Brands. But since coming aboard, there haven’t been any hoped-for blockbuster deals. Now that he’s resigned, it’s hard not to look back on Peltz’s time with the company as a disappointment. Let’s take a look at what factors may have impacted his ability to make a deal. 

There were deals happening in the beverage industry, but Aurora stayed on the sidelines

The bulk of the deals in the cannabis industry so far have involved beverage companies looking to tap into a new segment: cannabis beverages. Besides Constellation and Canopy Growth, other notable deals include Tilray‘s partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev and HEXO‘s joint venture with Molson Coors. Constellation’s situation, however, is the only one in which a company actually spent billions of dollars investing directly in a cannabis producer. It’s been evident over the past few years that if you’re a cannabis company looking for a deal with another industry, alcohol-producers are a viable source of support. But, unfortunately, that was never on Aurora’s radar.

In 2019, then-CEO Terry Booth told analysts that “the proven market is certainly not in beverage” and that “there are not going to be any cannabis bars like there are alcohol bars any time soon.” The priority for the company was its other products, like edibles and vapes.

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