Is the time right for Valeant to snap up Medicis?

While announcing second-quarter earnings yesterday, Medicis Pharmaceuticals CEO Jonah Shacknai said he plans to get back to his normal schedule soon following a series of personal tragedies that kept him away from the office. Shacknai has been with his family since he lost his 6-year-old son--who died after an accidental fall--and his girlfriend under "bizarre" and still unexplained circumstances. Now, into the picture steps acquisition-hungry Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which, according to Wall Street Journal sources, has approached Medicis about a possible buyout.

The WSJ notes Medicis stock has been underperforming lately as the investigation into the girlfriend's mysterious death continues, thus making the company a potential bargain. So, Valeant might be able to pursue its goal of dominating the dermatology market by snapping up Medicis at an attractive price. Some Medicis products--such as the acne treatment Solodyn--would be natural additions to Valeant's stable.

The timing might be right for Valeant for other reasons. During the conference call about Medicis' earnings, Shacknai sounded as if he might be open to a change, although he declined comment on the buyout talk. "At a time like this, you do a lot of introspective thinking," Shacknai said (as quoted by 10News). "We have obviously had an extraordinarily difficult time. We have undertaken some tragedies, some losses that one couldn't imagine experiencing in a lifetime."

But then again, Shacknai took great pains to thank his co-workers and board of directors for their support, adding that these difficult weeks have made him appreciate his "cohesive, capable and experienced executive team" even more. He started Medicis himself back in 1988. "I expect to be on my normal calendar in the office doing all the things I had done previously," Shacknai promised during the call.

- check out the WSJ piece
- see the 10News story
- get more from the San Diego Business Journal