Valeant, looking for a reputation fix, could change its name, Ackman says

Valeant

It’s not uncommon for businesses that have hit tough times to undergo a rebrand--and embattled Valeant is thinking about undergoing one of its own.

The company could change its name to help repair its reputation, Valeant boardmember and activist investor Bill Ackman told CNBC Wednesday. One option? Taking on the name of its top business, eyecare giant Bausch & Lomb, the news service’s sources said. Several other names are on the table, though, and the company hasn’t made a final decision on whether it’ll go through with the moniker swap.

Valeant’s reputation could certainly use a boost after the last year-plus, over which it’s faced political pricing pushback and channel-stuffing allegations. The company has already made moves to break with its past, bringing in new CEO Joseph Papa to replace M&A-happy J. Michael Pearson--and, of course, bringing Ackman on board.

But with several investigations into the company underway--and reports saying U.S. prosecutors are building a fraud case against Valeant--the Canadian drugmaker hasn’t been able to put as much of its past behind it as it would have liked.

If Valeant does make a name change, it won’t be the first pharma in recent memory to do so. Last year, after Actavis swallowed Allergan--a company it stole away from hostile suitor Valeant--the generics powerhouse decided to take on the name and identity of its brands-focused acquisition. Since then, the combined Allergan has completed a transformation, selling off its Actavis copycat business to Teva in a $40-billion-plus transaction this summer.