UPDATE 2-Ackman's hedge fund cooperating with U.S. on drug pricing probe -letter

Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:40pm EDT
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(adds information on probe, details from letter, paragraphs 5-7, 11, 14)

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON, March 24 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor William Ackman, whose hedge fund is one of the biggest investors in drug company Valeant, has been asked to supply information to U.S. legislators probing price hikes in the pharmaceutical industry.

Ackman told investors in his Pershing Square Capital Management on Thursday that the firm received a request on Friday from the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging as part of an investigation into pricing of off-patent drugs.

"As you would expect, we will fully cooperate with the committee's requests," Ackman wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.

The letter did not say the request was directly related to Valeant, but the Canadian company has sparked outrage among U.S. lawmakers and the public for dramatic price hikes on older drugs.

Ackman's letter also gave no details on what information the committee was seeking and why they asked the $12 billion hedge fund to supply it. A Pershing Square spokesman declined to comment beyond the contents of the letter.

Spokespeople for the U.S. Senate committee did not immediately respond to requests for information and Valeant declined to comment.

It was not immediately clear whether the committee has also reached out to other large Valeant shareholders, including Jeffrey Ubben's hedge fund ValueAct Capital, which currently has two seats on the board of directors.   Continued...