Allergan Says a Second Suitor Wants to Buy It, Adding to Takeover Drama

(Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Botox maker Allergan Inc., which has been fighting an unsolicited takeover bid from a Canadian pharmaceutical maker for six months, said in a regulatory filing that a second company is interested in buying it.

Allergan did not identify the new potential acquirer, but the prospect of a bidding war sent the Irvine, Calif., company’s stock price up 1.6 percent to $193.14 Monday.

“We have been approached by another party regarding a potential transaction,” Allergan said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Our board has determined that premature disclosure with respect to the possible terms of any transaction might jeopardize continuation of any discussions or negotiations,” Allergan said in the filing.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. has offered a combination of cash and stock now valued at more than $54 billion for Allergan. Valeant has partnered with activist investor Bill Ackman’s hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, in the proposed acquisition.

Allergan’s board has rejected Valeant’s offer as too low and criticized the company’s plan to slash research-and-development spending as shortsighted. In response, Valeant has said Allergan is too fat and would thrive under its ownership.

The issue could be decided Dec. 18 at a special meeting of Allergan shareholders, who will be asked to remove a majority of Allergan’s board and replace them with directors who could approve the deal.

Irish pharmaceutical company Actavis has been widely reported as having an interest in Allergan. A spokesman for Actavis declined to comment Monday.

“As a matter of corporate policy we do not comment on rumors or speculation regarding potential business development activity,” Actavis spokesman David Belian said in an email to the Los Angeles Times.