Endo Health Solutions Inc. (ENDP)’s largest shareholder, Fidelity Investments, is pushing the drugmaker to consider a sale after disappointing forecasts, three people with knowledge of the situation said.
Endo isn’t running a sale process and has so far focused instead on finding a replacement for Chief Executive Officer David Holveck, said one of the people. In December, Holveck revealed plans to retire this year, departing after Endo announced that 2013 revenue would probably fall short of earlier projections.
Fidelity is the top investor in Endo, with more than 12 percent of the stock at the end of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Boston-based firm met with the board several times last year and pressed the maker of the painkiller Lidoderm to replace Holveck, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the talks were private.
Fidelity, frustrated by earnings and revenue misses at Endo, has urged the board to explore a sale during its CEO search, said one of the people. Fidelity contacted potential buyers such as Warner Chilcott Plc (WCRX) to gauge their interest in acquiring Endo, said another person. Warner Chilcott is using Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise on the matter, said another person.
Representatives at Endo, Fidelity and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Rochelle Fuhrmann, a spokeswoman for Warner Chilcott, didn’t return a call and an e-mail seeking comment.
Endo shares fell 24 percent last year, the drugmaker’s worst annual slide in a decade, as the company prepared for generic competition in September to Lidoderm, its biggest seller.
On Dec. 13, Endo said annual earnings would be at or below the low end of its forecast of $5 a share to $5.10 a share, and that it “no longer expects to achieve” revenue this year of $3 billion to $3.2 billion. Endo forecast last month that its 2013 sales would be $2.8 billion to $2.95 billion. The company is likely to report full-year results this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Endo shares gained the most in more than four years on Jan. 30 after Reuters said the drugmaker may seek a sale. The stock rose less than 1 percent to $30.87 at the close in New York, giving the company a market value of $3.52 billion.
Warner Chilcott attempted to sell itself last year with the help of Goldman Sachs, although preliminary talks with potential buyers didn’t pan out. Fidelity also owns a stake in Dublin- based Warner Chilcott.
To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan Flinn in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org; Jeffrey McCracken in New York at email@example.com; Sasha Damouni in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org