NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Law firm Wachtell Lipton, perhaps the most established critic of activist investors, called hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management's involvement in a bid by Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) to buy Allergan (AGN) "aggressive and self-interested," characterizing the move as a new threat to Corporate America.
While the letter, co-signed by Wachtell founding partner Martin Lipton, may have important regulatory implications, it is more interesting within the context of a war of words between Carl Icahn and Lipton.
On Tuesday, Icahn spent the better part of a 40-minute presentation to investors attacking Lipton's criticism of activist investors. In fact, the activist billionaire went as far as saying Lipton has bridged a decade-long war of words between him and Pershing's Bill Ackman.
Whomever Marty Lipton disagrees with is a friend, Icahn said at the IMN Active-Passive Investor Conference on Tuesday. Lipton's criticism of Ackman's activist investing style and his sounding of an alarm about Pershing's role in the Allergan bid may bridge a relationship between the two investing titans that is marred by a fee dispute and an over billion dollar difference of opinion on the business model of Herbalife (HLF).
Icahn, a professional investor and an amateur comedian, however, was hamming it up for his audience of investors and journalists.
Wachtell Lipton, on the other hand, is dead serious about its critique of the Pershing and Valeant bid for Allergan.
The most novel part of the Allergan bid is Pershing's partnership with Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Pershing acquired nearly 10% of Allergan's stock worth about $10 billion after making a pact to support Valeant's merger effort. Valeant, a day after Pershing's stake was disclosed, offered Allergan about $45 billion in an unsolicited cash and stock deal.