Valeant: A Risky Bet For Brave Investors
The history of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) is one of constant change. The company’s oldest root seems to be ICN Pharmaceuticals, founded in the 1950s by Milan Panic, an amazing man who managed to serve as Prime Minister of Yugoslavia in 1992-1993 while still an American citizen. After Mr. Panic became tangled up in lawsuits with former employees and the SEC (not to mention ticking off Serbian tyrant, Slobodan Milosevic), the nucleus of Valeant was formedin a multi-unit merger of ICN Pharmaceuticals, ICN Biomedicals, SPI Pharmaceuticals and Viratek.
Another major building block was added in 2010 when Biovail took over Valeant but kept the Valeant name for the merged company. Since the merger, the company has taken over PharmaSwiss S.A., Dermik [the dermatology of unit of Sanofi (SNY)], the Ortho Dermatologics unit of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, AB Sanitas, Afexa Life Sciences, iNova, Probiotica, Eyetech, Natur Produkt, Pedinol Pharmacal, and certain assets of Atlantis Pharma and Gerot Lannach. Along the way, Valeant has made unsuccessful offers for Cephalon, now part of Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) and Ista Pharmaceuticals (ISTA). It remains to be seen whether the company has become a multi-headed hydra or a smoothly functioning international pharmaceutical giant.
Valeant has been such a blur of activity, it is difficult to focus on what the company is becoming, but one thing is sure; it’s getting bigger. Sales have gone from $840 million in 2007 to 2.46 billion in 2011. But growth is not always a joyful experience. Diluted profits have dropped from $1.22 per share to in 2007 to $0.49 in 2011, while dividends dropped from $1.50 to zero. To continue reading, click here.