Bausch Health’s Board Responds After Icahn Capital Reports Holding an 8 Percent Stake in the Health Company

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LAVAL, Quebec—Bausch Health Companies (NYSE/TSX: BHC) issued a statement Friday in response to the news that activist investor Carl Icahn had accumulated a sizable stake in the health care company, as Icahn Capital noted in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late last week. The filing also stated that Icahn plans to push for changes at the company, including potentially seeking board seats. In its statement, the Bausch Health board of directors and management team said they “welcome open communication with our shareholders and constructive input toward the shared goal of enhancing shareholder value.

"Our board of directors and management team are committed to acting in the best interests of the company and our shareholders. We continually review the company's strategic priorities and capital allocation to evaluate opportunities to maximize long-term shareholder value.”

The Icahn group’s total shareholding in Bausch represents just under an 8 percent stake.

In August 2020, Bausch announced a plan to spin off its Bausch + Lomb eye health business into an independent publicly traded entity separate from the remainder of Bausch Health, as VMAIL reported. The spinoff will establish two separate companies, including a pure play eye-health company built on the iconic Bausch + Lomb brand and long history of innovation.

In its statement Friday, Bausch Health’s board noted its commitment to the previously announced spinoff “to unlock what we believe is unrecognized value in Bausch Health. We remain committed to pursuing all opportunities and paths forward to deliver value for our shareholders.”

The board also noted that it “exited 2020 with solid momentum, outperforming the high end of our guidance by generating revenue that exceeded $2.2 billion and delivering strong adjusted EBITDA and cash flows.”

The board added, “We remain strategically focused on executing on our COVID-19 recovery plan, while capitalizing on key growth drivers and catalysts to grow EBITDA, improve working capital and delever our company.”

Separately, another investor group—Glenview Capital Management, which has been a top Bausch shareholder since late 2018—released a copy of a letter it sent to Bausch Health chairman and chief executive officer Joseph Papa.

The letter noted that the company’s share price has been “persistently low,” which make it harder to attract and retain key talent, which is vital to drive long-term growth and value.

The Glenview investor group said that for two years it has worked with the Bausch board “to offer suggestions to drive shareholder value, including more specific and actionable recommendations concurrent with our Schedule 13D filing in July of 2020.”

The letter added, “Yet while alternatives are discussed both privately and publicly, there has been no action to unlock value and position each franchise under the BHC holding company for maximum growth and success. Simply put, from an outsider's perspective, the action plan has been 100 percent plan, 0 percent action.”