Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.’s shares dropped 50% today after the company announced it will delay filing its annual report. The delay puts Valeant in danger of defaulting on its $30 billion debt.
Bill Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management owns 30,711,122 Valeant shares (about $1.09 billion), stated in response that he will be more actively involved in the company’s future structuring and management. “We are going to take a much more proactive role at the company to protect and maximize the value of our investment,” Ackman said.
Ackman originally bought Valeant shares in February 2015 at $161 a share. And while he’s been known to start rather public feuds with companies like Target, JC Penny, and Herbalife, he’s said he will be sticking by Valeant despite its current troubles. “We continue to believe that the value of the underlying business franchises that comprise Valeant are worth multiples of the current market price,” Ackman said in a short letter released today.
As it now stands, Valeant has until March 30 to file its audited financial reports. If it fails to do so, the company will have only thirty days before it is officially in default, which means major lenders would be able to demand immediate payment.
According to Valeant CEO Michael Pearson, the company will request an extension on the deadline. Pearson’s estimate for having the report ready is April. He also said that the company plans to pay back at least $1.7 billion of its debt this year—down from the originally estimated $2.25 billion.
Though Valeant was big news for years, buying up assets and growing substantially, financial experts aren’t holding their breath that the company will be able to turn itself around.
“Every time the company convenes a call it seems that there’s something new revealed that’s worrisome,” said David Amsellem of Piper Jaffray & Co. in New York. “All of this leads me to conclude that the management doesn’t have a good handle on these various businesses.”