Ackman lecture no match for Citron tweet as Valeant tumbles anew

Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:16pm EDT
 
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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON Oct 30 (Reuters) - Hedge fund billionaire William Ackman spent nearly four hours on Friday trying to convince the world that drug maker Valeant was a good buy but it was short-seller Andrew Left's tweet promising fresh allegations about the Canadian company that got noticed.

By the end of trading, Valeant's stock price had tumbled nearly 16 percent to $93.81, wiping $6.2 billion off its market capitalization and taking Ackman's own losses on the company to roughly $2 billion.

Left's accusation last week that Valeant was using its ties with specialty pharmacy groups to artificially boost its sales, a charge the company has denied, has sent the stock into a tailspin and is turning 2015 into a very difficult year for prominent hedge funds such as Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management and John Paulson's Paulson & Co.

Left, who runs Citron Research from Los Angeles, said he would update his Valeant allegations on Monday, pledging that the story would be "dirtier than anyone has reported."

Ackman, meanwhile, toiled in vain in the company's defense in a specially convened conference call.

The New York-based hedge fund manager blamed bad public relations and naive investors for Valeant's predicament saying the company should have responded more vigorously to concerns about its ties to specialty pharmacies.

Ackman, whose fund is the second-largest investor in Valeant, pledged to stand by the company's chief executive officer, Michael Pearson, saying "stuff happens" even with reputable companies.

Left, however, is unconvinced.   Continued...