- Activist investor and billionaire Carl Icahn said Tuesday he had acquired a large stake in the Irish drugmaker Allergan, indicating his strong support for CEO Brent Saunders.
- Ichan had previously backed Saunders when Saunders was CEO of Forest Labs, which was subsequently acquired by Actavis (now Allergan).
- The investment comes nearly two months after Allergan's planned mega-merger with Pfizer fell apart due to new tax rules issued by the U.S. Treasury.
Icahn did not disclose the size of his newly-acquired position on Tuesday, only saying it was "large." But the activist investor gave Saunders a strong vote of support as Allergan moves forward as an independent company rather than an arm of Pfizer.
"We have every confidence in Brent’s ability to enhance value for all Allergan shareholders," Icahn said in a statement.
The stake in Allergan is Icahn's first new position this year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Allergan stock has fallen by 13% since the U.S. Treasury released new tax rules that led to the collapse of the Pfizer merger.
But Allergan is set to receive a large influx of cash if the $41 billion sale of its generics business to Teva Pharmaceuticals clears review by U.S. regulators. European authorities already signed off on the deal after Teva agreed to divest a number of assets. The companies expect the deal to close sometime this month.
Allergan has already announced it is planning a $10 billion share buyback, pending completion of the Teva deal.