Billionaire John Paulson is doubling down on Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
The hedge-fund tycoon said Monday he is joining the board of the scandal-ridden pharma giant — despite the fact that he’s lost nearly $2 billion on the company’s shares thus far.
The move comes just three months after fellow hedgie Bill Ackman of Pershing Square sold his stake in Valeant at a nearly $4 billion loss and said he was exiting his board seat.
Paulson, meanwhile has been steadily purchasing shares in the company, despite the value of his holding plunging nearly $1.7 billion to roughly $260 million, down from a high of nearly $2 billion in June 2015.
Paulson’s “experience will be especially valuable as we continue to execute on our transformational strategy to turnaround Valeant,” CEO Joseph Papa said in a statement Monday.
Shares of Valeant popped nearly 5 percent to $13.27 in early morning trades.
The move comes at an interesting time for the hedgie and the pharma company.
Paulson’s hedge fund, which has a 5.6-percent stake in Valeant, has yet to come close to scoring a win as big as its famous bet against the US housing market leading up to the financial crisis.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Paulson’s hedge fund manages just $8 billion — much of it Paulson’s own money, down from a high of $38 billion in 2011.
Meanwhile, Papa has been at the helm of Valeant for just over a year and has been tasked with turning around the company. In addition to its nearly $30 billion debt load, Valeant has seen its stock plunge from $260 in July 2015 to trading in the low teens amid allegations of price-gouging and accounting fraud, under former CEO Michael Pearson.
Two former executives were charged by the Justice Department with “engaging in a multimillion-dollar fraud and kickback scheme” last November. Valeant has pleaded not guilty in the case, which is slated to go to trial.
Since Pearson’s ouster, the company said it plans to focus on ophthalmology, dermatology and gastroenterology and sell non-core businesses to rebuild its balance sheet.
“I am fully supportive of the strategy and leadership team at Valeant,” Paulson said Monday.