Actavis Gets a New Name, But Old Legal Problems Remain
After completing a $70.5 Billion merger with Allergan Labs that began in 2014, Actavis has announced a re-branding effort. The new Actavis company, which beat out competing bids for the lab behind Botox, will now use the acquired company’s name going forward as their new identity. Actavis, the company best known in legal circles as the makers of troubled drugs like Digitek and Androderm, will change both its name (Allergan PLC) and stock ticker symbol later this month, according to a company spokesperson.
The merger creates, almost overnight, a behemoth in the skin and eye care health industry. Allergan Labs was a target of several pharmaceutical companies that drove a bidding war for the eventual successful acquisition by Actavis. The new entity is estimated to be a $21 Billion a year enterprise, which gives them a large war-chest with which to continue their pending legal battles with Plaintiffs over past recalled drugs and the marketing practices of their blockbuster low-T drug, Androderm. Botox-maker Allergan Labs was no stranger to litigation prior to the merger either. The company had been involved in several high-profile legal battles, including courtroom skirmishes with hedge fund activist Bill Ackerman, and defending cases brought by tort attorneys over it’s “Lap-band” product used in weight-reduction surgeries. if past litigation history is any guide, it is clear the new combined company will keep its in-house legal team very business in the years to come.
Legal tussles surrounding the company haven’t scared off the rest of Wall Street. Actavis was one of just 11 publicly traded companies that have managed to post a positive gain in every one of the last 10 quarters, according to USA Today. It’s clear that, so far at least, investors have not been deterred by the legal issues of the company. They will begin trading under the new symbol AGN this month.