David Pyott - The battle for Allergan

Battling a hostile bid takeover needs an astute leader with strength of character and the support of a savvy team.


Some stories end with happy-ever-after. Some endings are bitter sweet. When David Pyott became CEO of Allergan, the maker of Botox, he never imagined that his leading role would end as the latter. 

When Pyott joined the global pharmaceutical giant, Allergan, in 1997, sales were about $80 million – in 2014, they were $2.2 billion. Over 14 years, Pyott increased Allergan’s shareholder return by 1,948%.

In 2014, Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, announced that he’d partnered with Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals to buy Allergan. In this exclusive film, Pyott recalls the Valeant/Pershing Square hostile bid war and reveals the gritty truth behind leading through crisis. Who can you rely on? What help should you buy in? And what responsibility should you give away, and to whom? 

Finally, and part of the reason Pyott was dubbed the ‘Braveheart of Allergan’, this film asks: how do you achieve a good outcome for stakeholders on both sides? 

Watch Pyott recount the story with poignant leadership lessons, right up to his bitter-sweet victory – when Allergan was sold to Actavis for $66 billion, resulting in $40 a share more than Valeant’s highest bid. And when in 2015, Actavis adopted Allergan as its new name.

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