Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) is reportedly exploring a sale of its eye surgery business that could be worth as much as $2.5 billion. The sale process is still in early stages and may not even happen, but the Laval, Canada-based company is trying to shed some of the debt it took on through its many acquisitions, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Valeant is in discussions with 3rd parties for “various divestitures”, according to the newspaper, although Valeant won’t give up the contact lenses, solutions and eye drugs that it acquired with its $9 billion purchase of Bausch & Lomb in 2013.
“The Bausch & Lomb franchise and its dedicated team are a critical part of our business,” a Valeant spokesman told the journal. Valeant is also reportedly shopping its Salix stomach drug business for about $10 billion, the Journal reported earlier this week.
“In accordance with its duties to shareholders and other stakeholders, management evaluates any transaction relating to core or non-core business units in accordance with the best interest of its shareholders and stakeholders,” the company said. “We are currently in discussions with 3rd parties for various divestitures including but not limited to Salix. The discussions may or may not lead to a definitive agreement. Valeant does not intend to comment further on market speculation or disclose any developments unless and until it otherwise deems further disclosure is appropriate or required.”
Shares of the Canadian pharmaceutical company jumped 30% to $23.46 apiece Nov. 1 following reports that it could sell Salix, which it acquired less than 2 years ago. In pre-market activity today, shares were trading at $21.12 per share.
Valeant’s former executives are reportedly undergoing a criminal probe over its ties to a specialty pharmacy, Philidor Rx Services, that helped to boost its sales. Michael Pearson, Valeant’s ex-CEO, and Howard Schiller, the ex-CFO, are under investigation for potential accounting fraud related to the pharmacy, which the company secretly used to overcome insurer reimbursement rejections of its medications – Philidor resubmitted claims to insurers until they were approved.
Since Valeant’s ties to Philidor were 1st disclosed last year, the company has cut all ties with the pharmacy, appointed new leadership, and conducted an internal review.