January 24, 2018 / 12:38 PM / 9 months ago

BUZZ-Valeant Pharma: Goldman Sachs starts with "sell"

** Canadian drugmaker’s U.S.-listed shares down 5.4 pct at $21.1 in heavy premarket volume

** Goldman Sachs starts with “sell” rating on VRX’s stock, citing levered balance sheet, ongoing litigation risk and muted growth outlook in the near-term on competitive pressures for key products

** GS says VRX shares trade above its peer group, despite less favorable growth outlook

** VRX and Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square were asked earlier this month to appear for a hearing to discuss proposed settlement in a long-standing insider trading lawsuit

** VRX has also been under pressure recently on potential threat to its diarrhea drug Xifaxan

** 2 of 7 brokerages rate the stock “buy” or higher, 4 “hold” and 1 “sell” or lower; their median PT is $17

** VRX’s stock had risen about 60 pct in the past 12 months, and about 7.3 pct YTD (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru)

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