Ackman urges Allergan board to 'wake up' on Valeant talks

Tue Sep 9, 2014 8:03pm EDT
 
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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON (Reuters) - After months of staying largely silent on a deal he is trying to broker, billionaire William Ackman on Tuesday criticized Allergan Inc 's (AGN.N: Quote) board of directors, urging them to "wake up" and at least listen to what potential purchaser Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO: Quote) has to offer the Botox maker.

In a letter sent to Allergan's nine directors, Ackman said, "Your actions have wasted corporate resources, delayed enormous potential value creation for shareholders, and are professionally and personally embarrassing for you."

"The smell of strong brew is in the air, now is the time to wake up," he wrote in the letter which was released in a regulatory filing.

Allergan responded on Tuesday by reiterating its criticism of Valeant's offer and confidence in its course.

“Mr. Ackman’s hyperbole, bluster and personal attacks do not change the fact that Valeant’s offer is grossly inadequate and substantially undervalues Allergan. We recognize that what matters is value, and the Allergan board remains confident in the company’s ability to deliver significantly more value than Valeant's offer," an Allergan representative said in a statement.

It has been five months since Ackman, whose $15 billion Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund is Allergan's largest investor, announced he is working with rival drug maker Valeant.

Despite sweetened terms from Valeant, Allergan has steadfastly refused to sell itself to its rival, sued the company and Ackman and has tried to line up another potential partner.

Now with his three-page letter dated Sept. 9, the New York-based hedge fund manager seemed to want to give this board one more chance to take action before a special meeting at the end of the year where he hopes to replace most of them with his own slate of directors.   Continued...

 
William Ackman, founder and CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks to the audience about Herbalife company  in New York, July 22, 2014.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz