Bill Ackman sent an email to embattled drug company Valeant Pharmaceutical’s CEO J. Michael Pearson, showing his support for the executive, after the Wall Street Journal reported Ackman had considered removing Pearson from his post.
“While I have strong views on Valeant’s communication strategy and would have taken a different approach, you and the board should not interpret this as a negative reflection on my view of you as the CEO of the company,” the email, which was sent at 2:03 p.m., said.
“I understand that the company’s counsel and the board may have different views on what can be communicated in light of regulatory scrutiny. This is indeed a judgment call, and I respect the board’s decision in this regard.”
Here’s a copy:
One Wednesday, the Journal published an inside account of some of the communication Ackman had with Valeant’s executives and board members.
Ackman has lost more than $US2 billion on his investment in Valeant. The company’s share price has collapsed more than 45% in the last couple of weeks on accounting fraud allegations from a short seller and increased scrutiny around drug price hikes. On Thursday, Valeant’s share price was last down 14% at around $US79.76 per share.
On October 27, the day after Valeant held an all-hands call addressing the short seller’s allegations, Ackman sent an email to Pearson.
“Your reputation is at grave risk. Valeant has become toxic. Even we are very concerned,” Ackman wrote in an email sent at 6:52 a.m., according to the Journal.
Almost an hour before Ackman had hit send, Pershing Square sent out a press release that it would be hosting a call of its own with investors to discuss its investment in Valeant.
Later that morning, Ackman called into Valeant’s board meeting telling its members they needed to “come clean” and host another conference call that day, the Journal report said. The board decided not to host another call.
On his own call last week, Ackman said he would have “appreciated more colour” from Valeant’s management as opposed to a “scripted” conference call. He also noted that he wanted Valeant to be more transparent. He felt as if Valeant failed to adequately address some key questions on its call.
A comment Ackman made to a board member that day also made it sound as if Pearson should be ousted.
“If Mike hides in his bunker on this, he can’t be CEO,” Ackman told the company’s lead director, Robert Ingram of Hatteras Venture Partners, the Journal’s Monica Langley reported.
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