The Allergan Board Under Fire (A)
In 2014, the Allergan Inc. board of directors received a surprise takeover offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals in alliance with hedge fund activist Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management. In the unprecedented arrangement between an acquirer and a hedge fund activist, Pershing Square had quietly amassed a 9.7% stake in Allergan prior to the Valeant bid, making Pershing Square Allergan's largest shareholder. The case presents students with many of the decisions Allergan's directors faced amid challenges to Allergan's governance, management, and business model. In particular, the Allergan board must decide whether to pursue a $10 billion acquisition of Salix Pharmaceuticals while under threat of a proxy contest and a special shareholder meeting to vote on replacing Allergan's directors with a slate more favorable to the Valeant merger. The proposed Salix acquisition would give Allergan a new therapeutic market but would also make Allergan too big for Valeant to acquire.