Appaloosa Management letter to Allergan $AGN
We write concerning the conclusions drawn from Allergan’s much-heralded strategic review, publicly outlined by Chairman and CEO Brent Saunders on May 30th. Like the rest of the investment community, we were underwhelmed by the Company’s half-hearted attempt to restore strategic momentum. The result of this process is all the more disappointing given our previous discussions and correspondence (attached hereto for reference). In view of this outcome, we are compelled to express our views publicly.
The token measures outlined in Mr. Saunders’ presentation betray the Board and management’s desire to cling to a status quo that has produced three years of steadily declining stock performance and a fire-sale market valuation. It is now clear that fresh thinking is absent from the current regime, thus explaining the market’s complete loss of confidence in the stock. To that point, we reiterate our strong suggestion that at a minimum the Company (1) split the office of CEO and Chairman; (2) retain a new Chairman or CEO from outside the Company; (3) replace at least two additional directors on the current Board; and (4) upgrade management personnel in critical operating units.
Concurrent with these measures, we renew our calls for the Company to stop hiding behind an arbitrary debt reduction target as an excuse to preserve the means to pursue a transformative M&A transaction. Prioritizing such flexibility at this time makes no sense given Allergan’s undervalued equity currency, its mixed M&A record and the market’s loss of confidence in the Company’s ability to deploy capital for the benefit of shareholders. More importantly, it will not address the Company’s malaise. Instead, it is time for Allergan’s management to concentrate on running a world class pharmaceutical and aesthetics business and forego thoughts of, or the exhilaration from, an ambitious acquisition strategy.
In our conversations, Chairman and CEO Saunders has been fond of repeating a famous quotation that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Until Mr. Saunders and the Board heed this advice, adopt new governance and renew the Company’s operational focus, it appears that shareholders can expect Allergan’s stock price to continue to languish.