UPDATE 2-Allergan near buyout of up to $65 bln to escape Valeant, Ackman -source

Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:20pm EST
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(Adds source comments on potential pricing and Valeant moves)

By Olivia Oran and Svea Herbst-Bayliss

Nov 16 (Reuters) - Allergan Inc is close to a buyout deal worth up to $65.5 billion by Actavis Plc, one that could end months of pursuit by Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals and William Ackman's hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Actavis may pay Allergan between $215 and $220 per share, with the final price likely coming at the high end of that range, according to the source. A deal could be announced as early as Monday, the source said.

If such a price materializes, it will likely put Botox maker Allergan out of Valeant's reach, despite the drugmaker's willingness to raise its cash and stock offer above a current value of about $54 billion, two sources familiar with the matter said.

However, if the agreed price comes in lower and Actavis investors show skepticism over the deal by trading their shares lower, Valeant may consider a new approach, according to one of the sources familiar with Valeant's thinking.

Actavis, Allergan and Valeant declined to comment. Pershing Square was not available for comment.

"I think Actavis is going to win," said Erik Gordon, a professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. "Ackman is going to be content to take his profit on his Allergan shares and go onto the next battle."

The bid for Allergan has proven one of the most complex and unorthodox in the healthcare sector. Ackman disclosed in late April a nearly 10 percent stake in the drugmaker and plans to bid for the company together with Valeant.   Continued...