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Jun 21, 2017

Concordia shares jump as it launches another review of its alternatives

Pharmaceuticals Prescription drugs Prescription pills

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Shares of Concordia International (CXR.TO) jumped 20.13 per cent or, $0.31 on Tuesday to close trading at $1.85 after the company announced it could be putting itself on the auction block. The specialty pharmaceutical company, which has lost 99 per cent of its value since its 2015 peak, has hired Perella Weinberg to explore and evaluate “potential transactional alternatives.”

The company was crushed under the weight of its $3.5-billion debt load, some 45 times its current market capitalization. Former Chief Executive Mark Thompson left the firm shortly after it was hit by U.K. legislation limiting generic drug pricing last fall.

In a release early Wednesday, Concordia also said it anticipates it will be able to communicate its long-term growth plan to shareholders in the second half of this year, and warned there is no assurance its review will result in a deal.

"We have made significant progress on our long-term growth strategy and we are looking forward to working with Perella Weinberg Partners to support the Company in finalizing and executing on that strategy," Chief Executive Officer Allan Oberman said in a release.

It’s the second time in less than a year that Concordia has considered its options. It launched a review of strategic alternatives in April 2016. That process culminated in October with a debt offering.

In spite of the company’s relatively paltry market cap, one Bay Street money manager isn’t sure the beleaguered pharma company will succeed if it hunts for a buyer. In an interview on BNN, Stephenson & Company President and CEO John Stephenson said the company’s myriad issues may scare off any potential suitors.

“This company has had a series of problems, and they are a needy seller. That will be an obstacle for a buyer,” he said. “Whether they get an attractive proposition from someone – who knows?”

Stephenson questioned whether the company’s existing slate of generic drugs would be enough to attract a bid.

“Is the portfolio of drugs they have sufficiently attractive enough to garner a top dollar?” he said. “I think the answer is probably not.”