Bill Ackman, in his obsessive, Ahab-like quest to force Botox-maker Allergan (AGN) to acquiesce to a hostile $54 billion takeover bid from Valeant (VRX), has voiced reminders that shareholders are required to meet and discuss the issue by December 20, 2014. However, the result of a special meeting, requested by Allergan shareholders, might not turn out the way Ackman and Valeant would like.
The mood of Allergan shareholders (aside from Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square, which owns a 9.7% stake in the company) seems more in sympathy with CEO David Pyott, who has repeatedly resisted the bid, than it is with Ackman. “The Allergan board of directors continues to believe that Valeant’s unsolicited exchange offer is grossly inadequate and substantially undervalues Allergan, ” the company said in a statement. The shareholders were asked if they wanted to vote on the offer at a later date and not to evaluate the offer itself. “Many shareholders have explicitly stated their view that requests are not an endorsement of Valeant’s offer.”
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Meanwhile, Ackman might be pursuing his other obsession, which happens to be his attempt to destroy Herbalife. Scott Wapner told CNBC that Ackman may very well be “pressing his short” on the multi-level marketer. Someone apparently bought a huge amount of put options with a January 2015 expiration and $50 strike. Wapner wouldn’t need Agatha Christie to tell him that the size and the intensity of the trade points to one possible suspect: Bill Ackman, who, not at all coincidentally, claimed he had information that would destroy the company for good. These allegations have thus far, lacked teeth, and for the time being, his short bet remains a losing game.