Breakingviews

Valeant urges $54 bln deal with carrot, two sticks

June 2, 2014

The acquisitive pharma group raised its offer for Allergan again, if the Allergan board cooperates. Meanwhile hedgie Bill Ackman is threatening to unseat six directors – and Valeant could yet decide to go fully hostile. But questions over Valeant’s own stock remain its weakness.

Valeant’s sweetener comes off a little defensive

May 28, 2014

Upping its bid for Allergan to $49 bln disappointed investors on both sides. Using a messy financial instrument probably didn’t help, especially after the target rejected the deal math and compared its suitor to Tyco. Valeant needs to do more to reclaim the aggressor’s role.

Valeant can boost its $47 bln bid for Allergan

April 22, 2014

The pharma M&A machine, working with hedgie Bill Ackman, thinks it can cut $2.7 bln of costs from the Botox maker. At Valeant’s single-digit tax rate, that’s worth nearly $25 bln. And that’s just the start of potential benefits. The deal would add up with a much bigger premium.

Dawn raid makes comeback via activist drone strike

April 22, 2014

Agitators usually take a stake in a company and then try to make something happen. Bill Ackman has instead teamed up with Valeant Pharmaceuticals to grab a 9.7 pct interest in $40 bln-plus Allergan, with a hostile takeover ready for deployment. It’s a potent battlefield tactic.

Activists crash dealmaker party

March 25, 2014

Shareholder lawsuits, cross-border mergers and defender-in-chief Marty Lipton will play supporting roles at the annual New Orleans M&A confab. Aggressive investors shaking dozy boards are the headliners. Their increasing presence at the gathering reinforces a growing power.

Ackman has Air Products catalyst, now for reaction

September 26, 2013

The activist hedgie has dislodged the gas firm’s underperforming boss, John McGlade. That quick win brought him a sharp gain of about $100 mln on his 10 pct holding. For bigger, more lasting success, however, a painstaking transformation of the company is now needed.

Industrialist hat suits Bill Ackman better

August 27, 2013

Retailing clearly isn’t his thing. A big bet on $22 bln Air Products, however, is the uppity investor’s second effort in heavier production after Canadian Pacific. As at the railway, better management could go a long way. A lot has to go right, though, to replicate that success.

Bill Ackman’s plate-spinning act gets dangerous

August 13, 2013

The activist hedge fund boss is always ready for a fight – just maybe not so many at once. Ackman is embarking on a campaign at Air Products even amid high-profile tussles at P&G, Herbalife and beyond. Resigning from the J.C. Penney board is prudent for more reasons than one.

Ackman’s new fund is off-Target – in a good way

July 9, 2013

Four years after eating humble pie for a bad concentrated bet on the U.S. retailer, the hedge fund boss is seeking $1 bln for another secret single-stock pick. Paying fees to invest blind in a listed company warrants skepticism. But Bill Ackman may have learned from his mistakes.

Herbalife: the ultimate financial plaything

February 15, 2013

Carl Icahn is joining Bill Ackman and Dan Loeb in the war over the nutritional supplements seller. One idea of his is another Herbalife buyout. The controversial business model and rich cash flow make it easy for Wall Street to keep imprinting fresh narratives on the company.