The drama involving Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) and Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) just won’t seem to end. There’s lots of news about the two companies today, with the latest being a report that Allergan approached Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SLXP) about a potential merger.
Also today, Valeant again refuted claims made by Allergan, and it looks like Allergan’s biggest shareholders are starting to get tired of all the drama.
Allergan said to have approached Salix
Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal reports that Allergan has approached Salix and at least one other company about a possible acquisition. The company is trying to defend against the hostile bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which is worth $53 billion. The newspaper’s sources said it’s unclear where the talks with Salix stand, although one of them reportedly said that Allergan might strike a deal with Salix or another company as soon as next month.
Salix is already involved in a merger process, as it’s joining with Italian drug maker Cosmo Pharmaceuticals S.p.A (SWX:COPN). That inversion deal is worth $2.6 billion and will allow Salix to move its headquarters overseas for the purpose of lowering taxes. It’s unclear whether Allergan would also acquire Cosmo or if the company would also pursue an inversion if the two companies strike a deal.
Shares of Allergan climbed as much as 4% today, while shares of Salix Pharmaceuticals shot up by as much as 14% on news of the supposed deal between the two companies.
Allergan’s biggest investors dump shares
Activist investor Bill Ackman has been trying to get Valeant and Allergan to tie the knot for months, but some of Allergan’s biggest shareholders are apparently getting sick and tired of all the drama. The Wall Street Journal reports that over 75% of the Botox maker’s largest shareholders sold some of their stock in the company in the second quarter.
Regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that 76 of Allergan’s top 100 shareholders as of the end of March sold some of their shares in the second quarter. Four of them dumped their entire stakes, while ten sold over 90% of their stake.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals shareholders seem to be a little more tolerant of the action, as 43 of the top 100 investors sold some of their shares during the second quarter. Two of them sold completely out of the drug maker, while four sold over 90% of their stake.
Allergan, Valeant—drama queens?
Meanwhile Allergan and Valeant continue to trade barbs. Allergan is trying to convince shareholders that its shares are worth a lot more than what Valeant is offering. However, because so many Allergan shares have traded hands thanks to big investors dumping them, the company could be more likely to fall victim to Valeant’s hostile takeover, thanks to merger traders who are more likely to support the bid.
Allergan has put out press release after press release suggesting that Valeant’s business model isn’t a good one. Every time we hear from Allergan, Valeant responds back with some “clarifications. Today Valeant posted on its website a new list of rebuttal statements, most of which are in response to a press release Allergan issued on Aug. 5.
Valeant gives another rebuttal to Allergan
Among the topics covered are sales and share numbers for Valeant’s Bausch + Lomb business. The company also addressed allegedly misleading disclosures about sales of the company’s top 20 products. This topic has been an area of hot contention between the two companies, as Allergan repeatedly accused Valeant of making misleading statements, while Valeant fires right back.
One item that came from the Financial Times rather than Allergan is a comment that Valeant is under investigation by the IRS. The drug maker said it’s unaware of any investigation, although the Financial Times article states that Valeant referenced an investigation in page 27 of its quarterly filing. Valeant said it is regularly audited, just as other companies of its size are as well.