Billionaire Paulson joins Valeant Pharmaceuticals board

By Allen Cone  |  June 19, 2017 at 2:40 PM
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June 19 (UPI) -- Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson has joined Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's board of directors.

Paulson became the 11th member on the board Wednesday, the Quebec-based company said in a release Monday.

In March, another hedge fund manager, Bill Ackman, resigned from Valeant's board and sold his 10 percent stake in the company. He said his investment was a "huge mistake."

The shares have declined more than 80 percent from its 2015 peak before it became embroiled in accounting and drug pricing scandals.

The stock's price increased 4.6 percent to $13.25 on the New York Stock Exchange 1 1/2 hours before closing Monday after falling 12.8 percent since the start of the year.

Paulson's hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Inc., is Valeant's largest shareholder with 5.6 percent of the shares outstanding as of the end of March, according to FactSet.

"With his significant business and financial expertise, John will be a strong addition to the board," said Valeant Chief Executive Joseph Papa in a statement. "His experience will be especially valuable as we continue to execute on our transformational strategy to turnaround Valeant."

Paulson built his wealth by betting on the collapse of the U.S. housing market in 2007. But his net worth has dropped by about $2 billion over the past year to $7.9 billion, according to Forbes after several bad trades, including on a Greek recovery and Puerto Rico.

"The strategic plan to transform Valeant smartly focuses on rebuilding the company's core franchises in ophthalmology, dermatology and gastroenterology while simultaneously using the proceeds from the sale of non-core assets and operating cash flow to de-lever the company," Paulson said Monday about his new partnership with the drugmaker.

Robert Hale, a partner with hedge fund ValueAct, has been a Valeant director since August 2015.

Valeant, which has 22,000 employees, owns Bausch & Lomb, one of the largest manufacturers of contact lenses. It also manufactures prescription and over-the-counter drugs in dermatology, neurology and infectious disease. It had revenue of $9.67 billion but reported a $2.4 billion loss in 2016.

In 2003, ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. changed its name to Valeant.

On June 8, it announced an agreement to sell iNova Pharmaceuticals business to Pacific Equity Partners and The Carlyle Group for $930 million. It mainly sells its products in Australia and South Africa.

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