Ackman’s Pershing Square Acquires 4.9% Passive Valeant Stake

Pershing Square Capital Management, the activist hedge fund run by billionaire Bill Ackman, amassed a passive 4.9 percent stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. according to a statement Monday.

The shareholding isn’t activist -- meaning Pershing Square won’t be pushing for immediate changes to Valeant’s strategy or governance -- a person familiar with the hedge fund’s plans said. The fund does have activist positions in Botox-maker Allergan Inc., which agreed to be sold to Actavis Plc, and animal-health company Zoetis Inc.

Valeant spent much of 2014 trying to buy Allergan, backed by Pershing Square, which had amassed a near 10 percent stake in the target to push for a deal. The Canadian company, which was thwarted in its Allergan pursuit by a higher bid from Actavis, said last month it would acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. for about $10.1 billion, adding a portfolio of gastrointestinal drugs.

A Valeant representative declined to immediately comment on Pershing Square’s investment.

Ackman’s activist investment strategies have seen him clash with companies and governments. He is waging campaigns against management at Herbalife Ltd., Air Products and Chemicals Inc., and the U.S. government over mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In October, a public fund called Pershing Square Holdings Ltd. began trading in Amsterdam.

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