Activist investor Bill Ackman (Trades, Portfolio) of Pershing Square has landed a representative on the board of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX, Financial), the controversy-ridden company whose stock has tanked over the past year, possibly giving investors hope that Pershing can orchestrate a turnaround.
Valeant announced Wednesday that Pershing Vice Chairman Stephen Fraidin will join Valeant’s board of directors, which expanded from 12 to 14 seats, along with Fred Eshelman, who founded Furiex Pharmaceuticals (FURX, Financial), and Thomas Ross, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina.
In the latest news, Valeant also said it is under investigation from the SEC, and Bloomberg has reported it is unrelated to the purchase of Salix Pharmaceuticals, the subject of an existing investigation.
In the third quarter, Valeant reported EPS of 14 cents, down from 81 cents in the year-ago quarter. The company will release fourth quarter results March 15.
While at an investment event in New York on Tuesday, Ackman said Valeant has a portfolio of valuable products and revealed one strategy the company may use to reduce debt.
“Bausch & Lomb is a very valuable stand-alone business and some day – if Valeant chose toÂ –Â they could sell a piece of that to pay down their debt,” he said.
Bausch & Lomb is an eyecare company that produces products such as eyedrops and contact solution. Valeant acquired the company in 2013 for $8.7 billion.
As of the fourth quarter, 17 gurus hold positions in Valeant, with Ackman holding 8.95% of shares outstanding. Ruane Cunniff (Trades, Portfolio), however, is the largest guru shareholder with a 10.3% stake. Other large guru shareholders include Jeff Ubben (Trades, Portfolio), John Paulson (Trades, Portfolio), Andreas Halvorsen (Trades, Portfolio) and Lou Simpson (Trades, Portfolio).