Ackman to Allergan shareholders: Valeant's offer won't last forever

Bill Ackman

Valeant ($VRX) may be offering $53 billion for Allergan ($AGN) now. But that bid might not be on the table by the time 2015 rolls around, Bill Ackman, head of Valeant takeover partner Pershing Square Capital Management, told the Botox maker's shareholders on a webcast Thursday.

Valeant--which is pushing for a special meeting where it can try to overturn the company's board and, later, its takeover defenses--is committed to striking an agreement now, but Ackman said he couldn't speak for the company if that meeting doesn't come sooner rather than later.

"Valeant has a business to run," he said (as quoted by Bloomberg), also citing a "very bullish credit environment" that can "change effectively overnight."

Ackman's urging follows a letter he wrote to Allergan's board Wednesday, requesting that it not delay that special meeting if Valeant gathers the investor support necessary to call it. Under Allergan's special meeting mechanics--dubbed "highly restrictive and cumbersome" by Ackman--the California company's board can push it back until November.

"What legitimate board of directors attempts to silence or otherwise delay hearing what its own shareholders have to say?" he wrote.

Ackman also once again slammed Allergan's board for refusing to come to the bargaining table and attacking Valeant's business model, the latest in a series of barbs the two sides have traded since Valeant made its first bid for Allergan back in May.

"Your scorched earth response to Valeant is beyond the pale," Ackman wrote in the letter. "We would have expected more from you based on your personal career track records up until this time."

Allergan CEO David Pyott

But as far as Allergan's concerned, Ackman's letter "is not based on facts, and is rooted purely in self-interest and innuendo," it said in a statement, blaming him for trying to distract Allergan shareholders from "the fact that the Valeant proposal is grossly inadequate and substantially undervalues" the Irvine-based drugmaker.

In lieu of negotiations, Allergan has taken up plans for a restructuring, which it reportedly plans to unveil later this month; the company's goal now is to give investors "most of what they want," CEO David Pyott recently told Reuters.

- see Bloomberg's take
- get more from Reuters here and here
- read Ackman's letter

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