Five months ago, Carl C. Icahn deplored Pfizer’s proposed takeover of the Ireland-based drug maker Allergan as a “travesty” meant to help one of America’s biggest companies lower its tax bill by moving abroad.
Now Mr. Icahn says he has taken a piece of Allergan.
The billionaire activist investor disclosed in a statement on his website on Tuesday that his investment company has bought “a large position” in Allergan, which is technically headquartered in Dublin. He didn’t detail how large of a stake or when the purchase was made.
Allergan said in a statement after the announcement, that it “has no reason to believe that this investment was made for purposes of influencing the actions of management or control of the company. We welcome all investors who recognize the value of our business.”
Mr. Icahn has been opposed to Pfizer forsaking its American passport to cut its taxes. In a letter to lawmakers in October, he urged them to change laws to prevent companies from doing so and announced a $150 million political action fund to finance the cause.
He did not speak ill of Allergan, however; he actually had a hand in creating the company.
In 2009, Mr. Icahn took a stake in the drug maker Forest Laboratories and spent the next five years pressing for changes there. After getting Brent Saunders, the chief executive, on board at the company in 2013, he orchestrated a merger between Forest and a Dublin-based counterpart, Actavis. Mr. Icahn made a $1.7 billion profit.
Actavis later bought Allergan, which faced an unwanted takeover bid by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. Actavis took on Allergan’s name, and Mr. Saunders remained chief executive. Its $152 billion merger with Pfizer thwarted, Allergan said in May that it would buy back $10 billion of its shares and reduce debt.
Normally, an activist would take on a stake of a beaten-down company, or short the stock of a company he thought was overvalued, and argue for change.
In his statement, Mr. Icahn said he supported Mr. Saunders.
“We still have always maintained great respect for Brent,” Mr. Icahn said. “We have every confidence in Brent’s ability to enhance value for all Allergan shareholders.”
Shares of Allergan got an early lift after the announcement, which Mr. Icahn made over Twitter. They traded up 0.65 percent at midday, to $237.48.
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