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Valeant looking to buy Zoetis

Published on 26/06/15 at 10:32am
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Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals has made a move to acquire animal health company Zoetis.

This is according to the Wall Street Journal that says a preliminary approach has been made to Zoetis, a firm that was spun off from Pfizer in 2013 and is the largest seller of medicines for livestock and household pets. 

Earlier in 2015 Valeant’s chief executive Michael Pearson had denied rumors his company was looking to approach Zoetis, and just prior to that sources were revealing that Sanofi were in fact interested in snapping up the former Pfizer subsidiary. 

Now as a result of this latest news share prices in Zoetis have gone up and according to Reuters data, the firm is now valued at just under $25 billion.

A deal could be moved along quicker by US hedge fund manager, activist and investor Bill Ackman – who holds around 9% of Zoetis shares notes a regulatory filing. 

Using his stake he had called for the firm to cut its expenses, and in May it followed suit and said it would cut $300 million in annual costs, closing factories and trimming its workforce by around a quarter. 

A big merger move by Valeant might not surprise too many observers given that not long ago it attempted a hostile bid to buy Allergan, only for it to be snapped up instead by Actavis – which also then consumed its name.

Allergan’s board claimed at the time that Valeant's strategy of slashing costs after acquiring business would damage the value it had built, and threaten the future of a ‘number of promising pipeline projects’. 

For the time being both Valeant and Zoetis are not commenting on any potential future deal.

Brett Wells

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