(Adds Pershing Square comments, Allergan no comment)
Aug 14 U.S. securities regulators are looking at
the hostile takeover bid made by billionaire investor William
Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals for Botox maker
Allergan Inc, a person familiar with the matter said on
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which regularly
reviews planned takeover deals, is asking Ackman's hedge fund,
Pershing Square Capital Management, questions about the deal and
the hedge fund is answering them, the person said.
Pershing Square, which owns nearly 10 percent of Allergan,
worked with Valeant to put together the takeover deal, which was
first unveiled in April. Allergan is fighting the hostile bid.
Valeant has since launched a tender offer for the company's
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Thursday that the
SEC was looking into whether the hostile offer by Valeant and
Ackman violated securities laws.
Pershing Square said in a statement that it had done nothing
wrong when it acquired shares of Allergan, made an offer on
April 22 that was rejected and then launched a tender offer on
"There is nothing illegal, unethical or improper in taking a
toehold position before a merger is proposed, even if it is not
wanted by the target's management. We welcome the SEC's review
of the facts," Pershing Square said.
Earlier this month, Allergan accused Valeant and Ackman of
violating securities laws by using insider information as they
prepared their takeover bid.
A Valeant spokeswoman said the company was confident that
the trading was completely lawful.
The SEC and Allergan declined to comment.
Allergan's insider trading suit is scheduled for a hearing
on Aug. 20, at which point the judge in the case could decide on
whether to grant an expedited schedule. At the same time,
Pershing is in the midst of gathering Allergan shareholder
support for a special meeting at which it will seek to replace
It needs more than 25 percent of shareholders to do that and
has said that it plans to present Allergan with its request for
the meeting in mid-August.
(Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York, Svea Herbst in Boston
and Anand Basu in Bangalore; Editing by Michele Gershberg and