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Report On Business Valeant has eye on more acquisitions, possible ‘merger of equals’

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. CEO Michael Pearson is seen in one of the company's laboratories Tuesday, April 3, 2012 in Laval.

Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. continues to be on the lookout for other specialty areas after its blockbuster deal to buy eye-care giant Bausch & Lomb Holdings Inc., says chief executive officer Michael Pearson.

The company known for its aggressive growth-by-acquisition strategy would also welcome a "merger of equals" with another firm but is focused for now on integrating Bausch & Lomb, Mr. Pearson said on a conference call for analysts Tuesday.

The $8.7-billion (U.S.) Bausch & Lomb deal – Valeant's biggest – "is not a merger of equals," he said.

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"The merger of equals remains an opportunity for us," he added.

Laval, Que.-based Valeant is certainly not done diversifying, said Mr. Pearson.

"There are many other specialty areas that we have our eyes on," he said.

Bausch & Lomb's three businesses – pharmaceutical, contact lenses and other consumer products, and surgical – all offer growth opportunities, particularly in emerging markets, he said. Bausch & Lomb is also present in markets – such as China – where Valeant is not established and these present opportunities for Valeant's other businesses, such as dermatology, he said.

Bausch & Lomb "allows us to get into China in a way that we will have critical mass" and allow Valeant to build its dermatology presence there, Mr. Pearson told analysts.

Valeant expects to continue doing "little transactions like small tuck ins."

But it's also keen on building its expanded ophthalmology division into the number one global player, he said.

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Bausch & Lomb is currently the fourth largest in the world, he said.

The "jewel" of Bausch & Lomb's three businesses is the pharmaceutical unit, he added.

"The one that most obviously is the most exciting is the pharmaceutical," he said, adding that it brings in by far the most profits for Bausch & Lomb.

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