The Morning Brief: Allergan Contesting William Ackman’s Voter Count

On Tuesday Allergan, the maker of Botox skin injections, announced it had set a date — December 18 — for a special shareholders meeting. That’s the meeting William Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, had demanded, via a lawsuit, so that he can hold a proxy vote and try to fill the board with people who will support Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ hostile bid for Allergan. But while Allergan agreed to hold the meeting, at the same time the company filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for a preliminary injunction against Valeant and Pershing Square. Yesterday Pershing Square and Valeant issued a statement of their own in response, saying: “We are confident that Allergan’s desperate attempts to delay or prevent a Special Meeting of Stockholders will not succeed, and that the Special Meeting will be held not later than December 18. It is apparent that Allergan fears letting its stockholders have a voice, and we believe that its transparent efforts to prevent that will not stand.”
According to a Delaware court filing, on September 4 Allergan plans to review the validity of the requests for the meeting. Under the company’s bylaws an investor needs the support of at least 25 percent of the shareholders to call a special meeting. Ackman has said he has the backing of 31 percent.
It turns out that in Paul Singer’s battle to get his Argentine bonds paid back, he’s leaving George Soros and Kyle Bass out in the cold. Quantum Partners, a fund that Soros’s family office manages, and Bass’s Hayman Capital are part of a group of investors who have filed a suit in London against the trustee, Bank of New York Mellon Corp., to collect on some $298 million in interest payments on euro-denominated Argentine debt, Bloomberg reports. A U.S. court order instigated by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corporation prohibits BNY Mellon from paying off the debt until Argentina reaches a deal to compensate Elliott and other investors who didn’t agree to the payment terms when the country defaulted on its debt in 2001. But Bass told Reuters he doesn’t think the court order should apply to the money due the investors holding euro-denominated debt because their payments are governed by U.K. law.
The SEC’s civil case against Steven Cohen has been postponed for a year, the Wall Street Journal reports. The former CEO of SAC Capital, now investing his own fortune through Point72 Asset Management, is facing a civil trial in which he’s charged with failure to adequately supervise employees who were convicted on insider trading.
Conservative Brazilian presidential candidate Aecio Neves says he has tapped Arminio Fraga, a founder of JPMorgan’s Brazilian hedge fund and private equity group, Gávea Investments, to be his finance minister if he wins the election on October 5. Fraga, an economist, was also the president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2003, during the presidential administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso.