UPDATE 3-Drugmaker Valeant eyes multiple deals, posts profit
By Ashutosh Pandey and Rod Nickel
Feb 27 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc sees close to 50 opportunities for mergers or acquisitions, its chief executive said on Thursday, as it aims to become one of the world's five biggest pharmaceutical companies.
The company, Canada's largest listed drugmaker and maker of antidepressant drug Wellbutrin and over-the-counter remedy Cold-FX, swung to a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit driven by the acquisition of contact lens maker Bausch & Lomb Holdings Inc.
Shares rose 2 percent and 1.5 percent in Toronto and New York respectively in morning trading, touching all-time highs before paring gains. The Toronto-listed stock is up 33 percent so far in 2014.
Valeant, which aims to become one of the world's top five pharmaceutical companies by market capitalization by 2016, has grown rapidly through acquisitions amid a consolidation wave in the specialty pharmaceutical sector.
Chief executive officer Michael Pearson said the company is in multiple deal discussions, as it typically is, and has no set plan for how it will triple its market cap to $150 billion.
"In terms of the number of opportunities out there, it's not five, 10 or 15, it's probably closer to 50," Pearson said on a conference call with analysts. Some of the opportunities are with privately held companies, others are based outside the United States and there are also pieces of larger companies that interest Valeant, he said.
"A lot of this is very opportunistic. A lot of it depends on the price." Continued...