What happened

Shares of Akorn, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKRX), a specialty generic pharmaceutical company, are getting hammered after the company disclosed an investigation that could derail the company's planned acquisition by Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. (NYSE:FMS). The stock was down about 32.6% as of 11:17 a.m. EST on Tuesday. 

So what 

Last April, Fresenius agreed to acquire Akorn for $34 per share, which was a steep premium to the stock's price during the weeks leading up to the announcement. As is usually the case when deals appear likely to fall through, the stock has fallen back to pre-acquisition levels.

Man looking on as money is getting sucked into a hole in the ground.

Image source: Getty Images.

Akorn hasn't found any facts that would materially impact operations and doesn't expect the investigation to affect the deal. According to a statement issued by Akorn, the pair have engaged outside consultants to investigate "alleged breaches of FDA data integrity requirements relating to product development."

Now what

Clearly, the market and Akorn have different opinions about the significance of the alleged breaches. Neither company has commented on which products were involved. Expect the market to continue assuming the worst until Fresenius gives a green light.

Those of you sniffing around for a bargain might want to look elsewhere. Akorn's loss of exclusivity for ephedrine sulfate caused gross profit to plunge 42% in the third quarter of 2017. If these losses continue, data integrity could be just the beginning of Akorn's problems.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.