CryptocurrencyInvestingBanksReal Estate

Former Valeant CEO Michael Pearson Just Sold About Five Million Shares of the Company

July 13, 2016, 6:25 PM UTC
Pershing Square's Bill Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's Michael Pearson Interview
Photograph by Scott Eells—Bloomberg via Getty Images

The man who built Valeant Pharmaceuticals through nearly a decade’s worth of rapid fire deals into drug company—but mostly a marketing machine—former CEO Michael Pearson, has dumped about $96.8 million worth in shares in the Canadian company.

That’s about five million shares and options in Valeant (VRX), sold off between June 30 and July 5, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that has yet to be made public, CNBC reported. The news also comes on the day Valeant’s second largest shareholder, Sequoia Fund, reported that it had completely sold its entire remaining holding of the company’s stock.

The former CEO was ousted from the corner office of Valeant in March amid federal investigations and public scrutiny regarding the company’s drug price gouging practices. Pearson is now a consultant with the company as its new CEO, Joseph Papa, attempts to sort out the company’s billions in debt and flagging sales.

The roughly five million shares sold likely represent just over half of Pearson’s former stake in the company. According to Valeant’s most recent proxy filings, Pearson owned about 9.1 million shares in the pharmaceutical giant as of April—about 2.6% of the company.

“J. Michael Pearson’s employment at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International was terminated in May 2016 and as such, the Company no longer files stock transactions on behalf of Mr. Pearson,” Valeant wrote in a statement. “Recently, Mr. Pearson exercised certain options that were due to expire. Under the terms of his contract, Mr. Pearson is required to hold 1 million shares for 2 years following termination of employment and he continues to retain a significant ownership position in Valeant.

Back in November, Pearson was effectively forced to sell 1.3 million shares of Valeant by Goldman Sachs (GS). Pearson had used those shares as collateral for roughly $100 million in loans from the investment banking giant. But as the pharmaceutical giant’s stock tanked, Goldman Sachs warned Pearson that he would either have to pay back the loans, or the bank would sell the shares they held as collateral. The latter option prevailed.


At the time, as CEO of the company, Pearson had said that he hadn’t sold shares of Valeant since joining the company in 2008, and “it was not my desire that the shares be sold now.”

Apparently, Pearson’s opinion of Valeant’s stock, like the rest of the markets—now that the stock has tanked over 90% since its all time high in the summer of 2015, and is down 75% since Goldman Sachs forced Pearson to sell off his shares in November—has changed.

The SEC declined to comment.