Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX), a drugmaker that's made a name for itself in recent years by acquiring brand-name drugs and entire companies, were down 11% during Wednesday's trading session as of 2:35 p.m. EDT. The culprit appears to be unfavorable analyst chatter.
As a quick refresher, The Wall Street Journal reported late yesterday afternoon that Valeant was in talks with Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical (NASDAQOTH:TKPYY) and possibly another unnamed suitor to sell its Salix Pharmaceuticals franchise for about $10 billion. A deal, based on people familiar with the matter, would include $8.5 billion in upfront cash and various royalties that would likely be sales-based to arrive at the purported $10 billion sale price.
Valeant ended the second quarter with $30.77 billion in debt, and with a goal of unloading its non-core assets and generating $8 billion. Its sale of Salix would accomplish its divestment target in one action.
However, not everyone on Wall Street was pleased with news of a potential deal for one of Valeant's core assets. Vicki Bryan, the senior high-yield analyst at Gimme Credit, an investment firm that covers corporate bonds, expressed skepticism if such a deal were to occur. Per Bryan, even if Valeant received $8.5 billion upfront and reduced its debt, the hit it would take to its EBITDA may not help its worrisomely low EBITDA-to-interest cost-coverage ratio.
Similar skepticism was uttered by Bloomberg, which notes that, if a sale were to go to through, Valeant would be giving up its best-selling product, and caving into a sale at a price that's roughly $1 billion lower than what it paid for Salix last year.
The important reiteration, once again, is that these are nothing more than rumors at this point. Valeant issued a press release after the market close on Tuesday backing up this assertion.
In accordance with its duties to shareholders and other stakeholders, management evaluates any transaction relating to core or non-core business units in accordance with the best interest of its shareholders and stakeholders. We are currently in discussions with third parties for various divestitures, including but not limited to Salix. The discussions may or may not lead to a definitive agreement. Valeant does not intend to comment further on market speculation or disclose any developments unless and until it otherwise deems further disclosure is appropriate or required.
In other words, don't count your chickens before they're hatched, one way or another.
What investors can look forward to is the company's third-quarter report on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Wall Street and investors will be tuning in to see if any additional deals are in the works, and if its dermatology business stabilized during the quarter. Circle those calendars, folks.
Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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