Valeant counts itself out of ISTA's strategic options

Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO Michael Pearson has walked away from another deal. The Canadian drugmaker withdrew its $7.50-per-share bid to acquire ISTA Pharmaceuticals, one day ahead of its official expiration. "We were not interested in participating in a lengthy evaluation process," Pearson said in a statement. "We are disappointed that the ISTA team was not willing to fully explore our proposal by Jan. 31."

Valeant ($VRX) has been pushing its suit for some time, but only lodged its first bid in late November. ISTA ($ISTA) rejected that $6.50-per-share offer and said it would entertain other potential buyers. Since then, Valeant hiked its offer to $7.50 and raised the prospect of adding another dollar to that, provided due diligence proved ISTA was worth the price.

Now, ISTA says it will continue reviewing its options, including a deal with another company. "ISTA is currently in dialogue with a number of parties that have expressed an interest in pursuing a strategic transaction and remains committed to maximizing shareholder value," the company said in a statement. CEO Vicente Anido Jr. added that, "there were simply too many other companies" interested in ISTA for it to go ahead on a deal with Valeant now.

Valeant has been making one deal after another, amassing a portfolio of products and facilities in a variety of therapeutic areas and geographic locations. Most recently, it picked up the Australian drugmaker iNova, with OTC and prescription drugs ranging from weight management to cough-and-cold remedies. Sanofi's dermatology unit Dermik, the Central and Eastern European specialist PharmaSwiss, and the cold and flu company Afexa Life Sciences also joined the Valeant fold last year. But it lost out to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) in a bid for Cephalon ($CEPH).

- get the statement from ISTA
- read the release from Valeant
- check out the Reuters coverage