UPDATE 2-Ackman urges Allergan talks with Valeant, no delay to special meeting
(Adds shareholder comment)
By Rod Nickel
July 16 (Reuters) - Activist investor Bill Ackman urged Botox maker Allergan Inc to negotiate a possible takeover by Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc and not delay a special shareholder meeting that could overturn most of Allergan's board.
Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund, Allergan's largest shareholder with a 9.7 percent stake, is attempting to gain support of shareholders owning 25 percent of Allergan to call a special meeting, during which it would seek to remove six directors.
Allergan can delay the meeting until as late as November.
"We, on behalf of Allergan's other shareholders, ask that you do not delay the inevitable any further," Ackman wrote in a letter to Allergan's board, released on Wednesday. "What legitimate board of directors attempts to silence or otherwise delay hearing what its own shareholders have to say?"
Ackman described Allergan's criticism of Valeant as a "scorched earth response" and said spreading false information to drive down Valeant's stock would be market manipulation.
Allergan, known for its Botox anti-wrinkle injections, said that Ackman's economic interests were aligned with Valeant's and he was trying to distract Allergan shareholders from the fact that Valeant's offer is too low.
"Pershing Square's letter to the Allergan Board is not based on facts, and is rooted purely in self-interest and innuendo," said an Allergan spokesperson. Continued...