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Here’s Why Valeant Shares Plummeted Again

Pershing Square's Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's Michael Pearson InterviewPershing Square's Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's Michael Pearson Interview
Michael Pearson, CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals.Photograph by Bloomberg — Getty Images

Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals fell another 11.5% Thursday, dropping to prices not seen since January 2011. The fresh losses were trigged by more bad news for the company, including comments from Valeant’s lenders and actions by activist investor Bill Ackman.

Valeant’s creditors are putting pressure on the pharmaceutical company for new terms after it said it would miss a March 15 deadline to file its annual report. That would put Valeant at risk of defaulting on some of its $30 billion debt load, according to an exclusive report from Reuters. Creditors may try to revamp the contract terms with more stringent standards, which could ultimately add more debt costs and restrictions on how Valeant can spend its capital.

Valeant (VRX) said it during its fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday that it would need to delay filing its annual financials since it wanted to review the $58 million it incorrectly recorded revenue linked to drug distributor Philidor Rx Services. The mistake was found during an internal audit.

Ackman’s moves today indirectly hit Valeant, as well. The activist investor’s hedge fund, Pershing Square, sold 20 million shares of snack giant Mondelez International (MDLZ). The move raised concerns that Ackman needs cash to cover the plummeting value of his Valeant shares. Just yesterday, Valeant’s stock fell 51%, costing Pershing Square about $764 million in one day. On top of that, S&P said it may cut the BBB credit rating of Ackman’s publicly traded vehicle Pershing Square Holdings.

Ackman brushed off those concerns in an interview on CNBC, saying that he knows how to handle Valeant’s problem and will take a much more active role doing so. Last week, Pershing Square’s vice chairman, Stephen Fraidin, joined Valeant’s board.

Valeant first came under fire last year for its pricing and drug distribution model. It’s problems have swelled since, including the revelation of its murky relationship with Philidor, restated financial earnings, a government subpoena, and a special board committee investigation. Valeant’s shares have dropped nearly 90% since their Aug. 5 peak.