Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX, TSE:VRX) and William Ackman’s hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management reportedly agreed to split litigation costs in a class action lawsuit brought on by shareholders over an alleged insider trading scheme in Allergan (NYSE:AGN)’s 2014 takeover bid.
In June 2014, Valeant offered a tender bid for Allergan, which was followed by a 7 month-long hostile pursuit by Valeant and Ackman’s hedge fund. In November 2014, Allergan publicly announced that it had accepted a $66 billion takeover bid from Actavis.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of investors who sold Allergan shares in the 2 months before the defendants announced a $51 billion bid for Allergan. By then, Pershing had amassed a 9.7% stake in Allergan, which jumped in value after the bid was announced.
Investors claimed that Pershing bought those shares knowing that Valeant was preparing a bid that could become hostile.
In November last year, a U.S. judge in California ruled that Valeant and Pershing must face the class action lawsuit, despite their claim that there was no intent to defraud. The pair also argued that they breached no duties by sharing information before the company launched their takeover bid.
The judge was not convinced, saying there were “serious questions” as to whether “substantial steps” were taken toward a possible hostile bid.
Valeant spokeswoman Laurie Little said the Quebec-based company was disappointed with the decision, and believes it complied with securities laws.
“We look forward to presenting evidence to establish that we did nothing improper,” she added.
In January this month, Allergan announced it will pay a $15 million fine for failing to disclose its merger talks with Actavis.
The SEC said that Allergan told investors that the company wasn’t engaged in merger talks and that Valeant’s bid was inadequate.