Valeant, Ackman score a chance to force Allergan to an earlier showdown

Don't send out any save-the-dates for that Allergan special shareholder meeting just yet. Valeant has won a request for an expedited trial over the timing of the meeting, a key step in its $50 billion hostile takeover plans.

Bill Ackman

Delaware Court of Chancery Chancellor Andre Bouchard has ordered a three-day trial to begin on Oct. 6--a start date that's in line with Valeant ($VRX) and partner Bill Ackman's legal request for a special meeting by mid-November, Reuters reports.

That's about a month earlier than the Dec. 18 date Allergan ($AGN) set earlier this week for the meeting, where Ackman and Valeant hope to send the majority of the Botox-maker's board packing and nix its poison pill defense.

Allergan, for its part, has said it needs the extra time to determine whether Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management--now the California company's largest shareholder--had violated securities laws when acquiring its 9.7% stake. "By rushing the meeting, we ... believe Valeant and Pershing Square are attempting to deprive stockholders of material information regarding their alleged insider trading violations," a company spokesman said in a statement Wednesday.

But in setting the expedited trial date, Bouchard said it was apparent to him that the Irvine-based drugmaker "may not want a special meeting at all," according to Reuters.

The way Valeant and Ackman see it, the sooner the meeting date, the less time Allergan has to strike a deal for another company, which would in turn thwart their merger attempts. Rumors about an acquisition of Allergan's own have been swirling since the team put its first offer on the table, with the latest centering on North-Carolina based Salix ($SLXP).

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Special Reports: Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of 2013 - Valeant/Bausch + Lomb | The most influential people in biopharma today - J. Michael Pearson, Valeant | 20 Highest-Paid Biopharma CEOs of 2012 - David Pyott, Allergan

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