Bill Ackman Wants to Plump His Portfolio With Botox Maker in Hostile Takeover

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Activist investor William Ackman is at it again.

This time he has joined forces with Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) for a hostile takeover of Allergan (AGN), the maker of the plastic surgeon's friend, Botox, according to filings on Monday.

Ackman got involved in the move to acquire Allergan, worth around $42 billion, after Valeant's unsuccessful efforts over the past year. Adding Ackman and his $13 billion Pershing Square Capital to the mix ratchets up the pressure on Allergan.

Valeant shares, recently at around $132, are up 12.6% year to date. That includes a 5% gain today.

Shares of Allergan, trading recently at about $164, are up 47% so far this year, including a 15% gain today on news of the deal.

Any deal between Allergen and Valeant would bring together two mid-sized pharmaceutical companies that specialize in skin-care and eye-care products.

Valeant has been on a buying spree recently, acquiring Bausch & Lomb Holdings last May, for instance. The Canadian company has said it believes a merger with Allergan would create an "unrivaled platform for growth and value creation." The company is expanding from generic drugs into areas where it has a smaller presence such as ophthalmology, dermatology and dentistry.

Allergan, based in Irvina, Calif., also has a successful portfolio of ophthalmic drugs to treat conditions such as glaucoma and dry eye, making it an attractive target.

Terms of the deal have yet to be finalized, but Ackman said in the filing that Valeant will pay with a combination of stock and cash and expects the cash component to total around $15 billion.

Pershing Square began buying Allergan shares in February and has already spent close to $4 billion for a 9.7% stake in the company, the hedge fund's largest investment to date.

Pershing Square is known for its controversial acquisitions, having waged a public battle against nutrition-supplement company Herbalife (HLF) in December 2012, with a $1 billion short bet.

The hedge fund has delivered strong results this year, with a gain of around 10% through the middle of April. If the Allergen deal works out in its favor, it could help Pershing Square to continue to outperform of broader indexes.

 
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At the time of publication, the author had no position in any of the funds mentioned.

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This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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