Teva sues over "staggering" auction-rate loss

The financial markets have recovered quite a bit since the long slide last fall--all except the market for auction rate securities. Lots of companies--including some notable pharma firms--have taken writedowns on those investments, selling them for as little as 40 cents on the dollar. But few have seen as spectacular a loss on those securities than Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

In fact, Teva's auction rate securities took such a big bite out of the company's finances that it has sued Merrill Lynch & Co., which sold it the instruments, Bloomberg reports. Since the market collapsed, Teva's $273 million in securities has dropped to a value of $10 million, the suit alleges. Teva accuses the bank of misleading it about the liquidity and safety of auction rate securities. "Merrill Lynch was engaged in an elaborate scheme to deceive investors about its involvement in the auction-rate market," the suit claims. 

As you know, Teva isn't the only drugmaker to suffer a loss. Bristol-Myers Squibb took an 82 percent loss when it sold part of its auction-rate debt, which had a face value of $642 million. The company still owns $169 million of the bonds, but wrote them down by $75 million last quarter.

- see the article from Bloomberg