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Jun 19, 2017

Valeant adds investor John Paulson to board; shares rise

John Paulson joins Valeant’s Board of Directors

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Activist investor and hedge fund manager John Paulson has joined Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc's (VRX.TO) board, a move that comes at a time when the embattled Canadian drugmaker is restructuring itself to repay debt.

Valeant's Canadian-listed shares were up almost six per cent as of 12:23 p.m. ET on Monday.

Paulson's hedge fund Paulson & Co had a 5.68 per cent stake in Valeant as of March 31, making it the largest shareholder in the company, according to Reuters data.

At least one pharma analyst believes the company will be stable, even if the share price never returns to its 2015 highs.

“We view it as merely being a stripped-down version of what Valeant is today, we just don’t see it ever going back to the old model of M&A and rollup on steroids that it used to be,” Ram Selvaraju, senior healthcare analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, told BNN in an interview on Monday.

“There’s not a huge amount of upside. It’s not going to get back to $200 a share. It’s not going to be the high-flyer that it used to be, but it can still be a stable and modestly-growing business and in the specialty pharma world that should be enough to demonstrate significant value accretion from current levels.”

John Paulson joining Valeant's board a positive development: Analyst

Ram Selvaraju, senior health care analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, says John Paulson joining the board of Valeant is a positive development, but not enough for him to change his "neutral" rating on the stock to a "buy."

Valeant Chief Executive Joseph Papa is working to narrow the company's focus to its dermatology, gastrointestinal and eye care businesses by pruning other assets to repay its debt of nearly US$30 billion.

Papa praised the Paulson addition, saying in a statement: "His experience will be especially valuable as we continue to execute on our transformational strategy to turnaround Valeant."

Paulson's addition increases the size of Valeant's board to 11 members, 10 of whom are independent.

"I am fully supportive of the strategy and leadership team at Valeant,” Paulson said in a statement.

The company has been a fancy of activist investors such as Pershing Square's William Ackman, who sold his stake after spending 18 months trying to repair the company and suffering more than $3 billion in losses.

- with files from BNN

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