The interview began at 2 p.m., and [Jim] Grant went straight after the elephant in the room — the Valeant-Allergan deal. “May I call you Bill, or do you prefer ‘Alpha’?” Grant asked playfully before launching into a series of questions. Before we go any further into this story, you should know that short-seller Jim Chanos, CEO of Kynikos Associates, was sitting in the crowd. Chanos is famously short Valeant. He says it is an accounting rollup that lacks organic growth. Ackman knew Chanos was in the crowd, because during the lunch lecture (about 20 minutes before Ackman’s interview), Chanos asked a question in front of everyone present. Now, back to Ackman’s interview. As Grant asked the same questions about Valeant-Allergan that critics have been asking for months — “Does the company actually make money?” “Does Valeant overpay for its acquisitions?” “Doesn’t it need to spend money on R&D?” — Ackman started to bristle a bit. Suddenly, he turned toward Grant. “Are you short because your daughter is working for Jim Chanos?” he asked pointedly. [BI]
John Paulson has a problem: He took a huge bath when AbbVie decided not to buy Shire because, even though it was ready to pay $54 billion for the company, the Irish pharma was basically just a tax shelter to Shire, and of the sort that is no longer kosher in the precincts of the U.S. Treasury Department. Now, John Paulson is Shire’s third-largest shareholder, and 30% drops in a company in which one is the third-largest shareholder are the kind of thing likely to produce something approaching panic in a hedge-fund manager.
John Paulson also owns a lot of Allergan shares. You may have heard of Allergan, either because it makes Botox, or because Bill Ackman talks about it a lot.
John Paulson has been listening closely to what Bill Ackman says about Allergan, which is that the company should take Valeant Pharmaceuticals $53 billion (or more?) offer and that if it doesn’t, he’s going to throw out its entire board and make Allergan take the deal. And John Paulson likes that plan. He likes it a lot. But he’d like it even more if all of those Shire shares he owns would one day be worth as much as they were when he bought them, all of those months ago, when tax inversions were the order of the day. And he has an idea on that front… Read more »
Come people: wake up! Read more »
Late last week, Botox-maker Allergan Inc sued Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Pershing Square, alleging the latter two had engaged in insider trading when Pershing bought $1 billion worth of Allergan shares ahead of a takeover offer by the hedge fund and Valeant. On the suggestion of wrongdoing, Valeant called with charges “baseless,” while Ackman stated in a press release that “This is a shameless attempt by Allergan to delay the shareholders’ fundamental right to call a special meeting and vote their shares. Allergan is threatened by our progress toward calling the special meeting. This scorched-earth approach is further evidence of the board’s and management’s further entrenchment.”
Not entirely convinced? Dealbook‘s Andrew Ross Sorkin, who in his column today says WAIT JUST A SECOND, PEOPLE. Read more »
The short response: go fuck yourself. The slightly longer one: Read more »
An insider trading-shaped bone. Read more »
And that form is a lawsuit which he has to pay lawyers to file. Phone calls, e-mails, letters, telegrams, CNBC appearances, PowerPoint presentations and carrier pigeons with the query, “Will my plan to solicit proxies to oust a majority of your stupid, intransigent board cause me troubles vis-à-vis poison pills?” were allegedly and will be in the future ignored, returned unread or turned over to Allergan’s vaunted R&D operations. Read more »