Joe Papa has just accepted appointment as CEO of Valeant.
a. I am glad my short is mostly - not entirely covered. Joe Papa is a fabulous appointment - far better than Valeant deserved.
b. Papa has his work cut out for him. Valeant deserves to go bankrupt - and will go bankrupt unless the goodwill of bond holders and pharmaceutical payers is forthcoming. If I were auditor I would still qualify the accounts with a "going concern" qualification.
Given the treatment of stakeholders it will be hard to earn and maintain goodwill from bond holders and pharmaceutical payers. Valeant owned Philidor which was a systematic attempt to defraud pharmaceutical payers. It will take a lot of work to settle all the litigation and to get the payers to continue to pay inflated prices for Valeant drugs.
Joe Papa is far more likely than anyone I can think of to earn the goodwill of payers and bondholders and thus save Valeant.
I still think Valeant will go to bankruptcy, but I am less sure about it.
Even if Valeant files bankruptcy Papa should logically remain CEO. He will run the business better than most alternative CEO candidates.
This does not mean that I think Valeant should race back towards $100. Survivability is a long way from generating enough profit to meaningfully dint that $32 billion debt load.
Still for once I am not unremittingly bearish this company.
And here you will get me to say something I did not think I would say. If Bill Ackman was responsible in part for convincing Mr Papa to take the job then Mr Ackman has done Valeant and his investors a great service.