Friday, June 14, 2024

Andrew Left Takes Long Stance on Valeant, Awaiting ‘Bounce’ in Shares

It appears Citron Research's Andrew Left is changing tack on beleagured Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX).

The activist short seller -- who helped send shares of Valeant into a tailspin last fall -- said in a Monday interview with Real Money that he "wouldn't be surprised if there's a bounce" in the drugmaker's stock, which has fallen more than 90% since last summer.

"I'm long for Valeant, but I also own some out-of-the-money puts," he said, noting he's unfazed by Valeant's decision today to broaden discounts on two drugs, Nitropress and Isuprel. (Out-of-the-money puts are a common investment vehicle used in short selling.) "I don't think they're going to make any decisions that are going to torpedo their company," Left added.

The most important metric in gauging Valeant's recovery, according to Left, will be sales of its flagship Xifaxin, which was obtained as part of Valeant's $11 billion of Salix last April. Robust sales will be crucial to spur growth, especially as Valeant looks to offload a roughly $20 billion debt burden, Left added.

Valeant has long been trying to extricate itself from intense media scrutiny surrounding allegations that its unfairly hiked drug prices to exorbitant levels, with its former CEO, Michael Pearson, appearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging last month to apologize for having said shareholder interests were his top priority, interests above patient and hospital concerns.

On Monday, its new CEO, Joseph Papa, reiterated his mission to rebrand the company's image as a patient-first drugmaker, as part of his broadening of product discounts.

"I also want to thank the Senate Committee on Aging and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for the attention they have brought to this issue, and specifically to gaps they identified in the previous program," he said in a Monday statement. "We are committed to getting this right."

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