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Valeant shares rise on reports it's looking to buy Medicis Add to ...

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. shares rose more than five per cent on Tuesday after reports the company is pursuing a takeover of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp.

Stock in the Toronto-area company was ahead $2.20 to $40.43 on the Toronto Stock Exchange in the early afternoon.

On Monday, a report by The Wall Street Journal suggested that Valeant approached Medicis, based in Washington, in recent weeks as the company’s market value on the New York Stock Exchange took a major fall, which could open the possibility of a takeover.

Uncertainty has revolved around the leadership of the company since the unusual death of chief executive Jonah Shacknai’s girlfriend in July, and the death of his six-year-old son shortly afterwards from injuries sustained when he fell down the stairs at Mr. Shacknai’s mansion.

Both cases raised uncertainty about when the CEO would return to work, and also his involvement in the police investigation. So far no suspects have been named in the case, and investigators said they have not established any connection between the boy’s fall and the death of Mr. Shacknai’s girlfriend.

Medicis shares were up nearly 8 per cent, or $2.66, to $36.29 (U.S.) on the NYSE.

Valeant, which has its headquarters near Toronto in Mississauga, Ont., was formed last September by the merger of Biovail Corp. and California-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

Since then, Valeant has made a number of corporate and product acquisitions and was forced to back away from one hostile takeover attempt. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Valeant made a takeover approach to Meda AB, a Swedish specialty drug maker.

With files from The Associated Press

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