IRVINE, Calif. - Shares of Allergan jumped in premarket trading Monday after several reports surfaced over the weekend that specialty drugmaker Actavis was preparing to buy the maker of Botox, which is embroiled in a takeover battle with Valeant Pharmaceuticals (TSX:VRX).
News organizations including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that Allergan is nearing a deal to sell itself to Actavis for more than $62.5 billion. That would top an offer of about $53 billion put together by Valeant and Bill Ackman's hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, which has built a large stake in Allergan.
Representatives of Actavis did not immediately return calls seeking comment from The Associated Press.
Allergan Inc. has resisted for months the unsolicited bids of Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. It has questioned Valeant's business model, which relies on acquisitions for growth, and its cost-cutting plans. Valeant has said it is committed to funding important research.
The companies have taken their takeover battle to federal court, and Allergan faces a Dec. 18 shareholder meeting at which its stock owners will have a chance to vote out most of its board.
In shunning Valeant for Actavis, Allergan would be favouring another drugmaker that leans heavily on acquisitions. In July, Actavis completed a $28 billion deal for fellow drugmaker Forest Laboratories. Last year, it bought Ireland's Warner Chilcott for $8.5 billion, a year after merging with generic drugmaker Watson Pharmaceuticals.
Shares of Allergan climbed $8.85, or 4.5 per cent, to $207.50 in premarket trading about two hours before markets opened Monday. The stock had already jumped about 79 per cent so far this year, as of Friday's close. U.S.-traded shares of Actavis also were up nearly 3 per cent, or $7.17, to $250.94. Shares of Valeant were down $1.71 at US$132.50.