Bill Ackman Didn’t Really Mean It When He Suggest Valeant CEO Shouldn’t Be Valeant CEO Anymore

Just a misunderstanding.
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No. no, Mike. You don't have to go just yet.

You might think that Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO Michael Pearson is in a bit of trouble. He’s seen his company's shares lose more than half their value over the last two months or so. He’s getting inconvenient margin calls. Oh yea, and his former number-one backer, Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman, seems to be trying to do his job for him.

Now, Bill Ackman may be a lot of things, but he’s not stupid. Just ask Carl Icahn. And it has occurred to him that his behavior vis-à-vis Valeant over the past few weeks may have made Pearson feel a bit, shall we say, insecure? You know, things like telling people that Valeant’s needs “are not Mike’s best skills,” and musing that “he can’t be CEO.” You know, easily misunderstood stuff like that.

Well, let Bill Ackman make himself clear: He still has full faith and confidence in his buddy Mike. As long as Mike is looking into selling out, that is.

Dear Mike,

In light of recent press reports, I thought it would be helpful for me to communicate my thoughts on your leadership of Valeant. We share the board’s confidence in you and your leadership.

While I have strong views on Valeant’s communication strategy and would have taken a different approach, you and the board should not interpret this as a negative reflection on my view of you as the CEO of the company. I understand that the company’s counsel and the board may have different views on what can be communicated in light of regulatory scrutiny. This is indeed a judgment call, and I respect the board’s decision in this regard.

You are one of the most shareholder-oriented CEOs I know. You have assured me that you and the rest of the board are considering any and all alternatives that would benefit shareholders and other stakeholders. That is very comforting to us.

Sincerely,

Bill

Ackman to Valeant’s Pearson: I Still Have Confidence in Your Leadership [WSJ MoneyBeat blog]
Questions Surround Valeant CEO Pearson [WSJ]
Valeant CEO Forced to Sell Company Stock in Margin Call [WSJ]
Bill Ackman hints at possible Valeant Pharmaceuticals sale [N.Y. Post]

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