Citron's Left hits nerve with new Valeant broadside

Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:44pm EDT
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By Daniel Bases and David Gaffen

NEW YORK Oct 21 (Reuters) - Andrew Left's Citron Research is largely a one-man investment research operation that has shaken financial markets in both the United States and China from his home office in Beverly Hills, California.

His missive on Wednesday on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc caused the already-reeling stock to plunge and fed further doubts about the drug company's operations, beginning with its pricing practices.

"It's down 18 percent now. It's got a lot more to go. The work speaks for itself," Left told Reuters shortly after his report was emailed to subscribers, for which he does not charge.

"I have a team around me, but I keep everything secret," Left said, adding: "I always want the message to be the important thing, not the messenger. Notice they say it is Citron, not Andrew Left. There is no ego in this game. Read what I write. I don't talk about my operation."

Valeant's U.S. shares were last down 39.5 percent at $88.77 on record trading volume. Left wrote two other reports on Valeant this year, on Sept. 28 and Oct. 2.

He came to prominence when he and several others, most notably Carson Block of Muddy Waters Capital, targeted U.S.-listed shares of Chinese companies; a number of those companies eventually either went bankrupt or were de-listed.

Left started out as a broke college graduate who answered an ad for a boiler-room commodities brokerage, Universal Commodity Corp in 1993, touting an opportunity to earn $100,000 a year.

He quit nine months later in March 1994. The Florida firm was cited in December 1995 by the National Futures Association (NFA) for failure to supervise employees engaged in fraudulent practices. Left was sanctioned by the NFA as part of a wider probe into the firm. The firm was closed down in December 2008 after another infraction, the NFA says.   Continued...