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Updated: Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:28:51 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Allergan cuts 1,500 jobs in bid to avert Valeant takeover



David Pyott, Allergan Inc. CEO, has announced 1,500 layoffs and boosted earnings in a bid to convince shareholders they should reject Valeant takeover. Allergan/Associated Press

David Pyott, Allergan Inc. CEO, has announced 1,500 layoffs and boosted earnings in a bid to convince shareholders they should reject Valeant takeover. Allergan/Associated Press

Botox maker Allergan will cut about 13 per cent of its workforce, or roughly 1,500 employees, as part of a push to become more efficient and productive.

The Irvine, California, company also said Monday it plans to eliminate about 250 vacant positions in a restructuring that will streamline its business and allow the drugmaker to focus on its "highest value opportunities."

Allergan is fighting a hostile takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals of Laval, Que. 

- Valeant goes directly to shareholders on Allergan deal

CEO David Pyott is attempting to prove there is no need for the Valeant merger as Allergan can boost its earnings, cut spending and create better shareholder value on its own.

Allergan announced the cuts the same day it also said second-quarter earnings grew 16 per cent to $417.2 million US, or $1.37 per share, and revenue jumped 17 per cent to $1.86 billion. Both earnings and revenue trumped analyst expectations, according to FactSet.​

The drugmaker also raised its forecast for adjusted 2014 earnings to between $5.74 and $5.80 per share from a range of $5.64 to $5.73 that it predicted in May. Analysts expect, on average, $5.71 per share.

Battle over takeover bid

Allergan said its restructuring will yield annual pre-tax savings of about $475 million in 2015, while costs tied to it will total between $375 million and $425 million.

Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and investment firm Pershing Square Capital Management have made several bids to buy Allergan, the latest amounting to about $53 billion in cash and stock.

Allergan has said the offers "substantially undervalue" the company and create big risks for its shareholders. It also has adopted a "poison pill" measure to block a takeover.

Pershing Square wants to hold a special meeting where Allergan shareholders can have a say in the buyout bid and on the company's direction.

Complaint to regulators

In the takeover battle's latest twist, Valeant said Monday it has complained to regulators that Allergan has been making false statements about its business.

Valeant said it has contacted both the Autorité des marchés financiers and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to complain that Allergan is trying to mislead investors.

Valeant said the latest example of these statements involves the performance of contact lens maker Bausch + Lomb, which Valeant acquired last year. Valeant said Allergan has falsely asserted that the business's pharmaceutical sales were stagnant or declining when it actually grew in the second quarter.

"We can no longer tolerate unjustified attacks on Valeant's business and strongly believe we are obligated to take action to protect Valeant shareholders from Allergan's apparent attempts to mislead investors and manipulate the market for Valeant stock," Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson said in a statement.

An Allergan spokesman responded by email that the company stood by its comments.

"We call on Valeant to report complete and transparent details on its business on an ongoing basis," the spokesman said. "At the end of the day, investors will make their own decisions."

Shares of Allergan climbed 35 cents to $167.75 Monday at the start of trading. The stock had already climbed 51 per cent so far this year as of Friday's close as a result of the takeover fight.

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