Bausch Health Cos. shares
soared 27% in premarket trade Thursday, after the company said it is planning to spin off its eye-care business into a separate public company, confirming a Wall Street Journal report. The business, known as Bausch & Lomb, accounted for nearly half of the company’s $8.6 billion in revenue last year, the WSJ reported. Bausch said the move will allow it to focus on expanding its position in GI, aesthetics and dermatology, neurology and international pharma. The company said it will complete the spinoff in stages, and will start by reporting Bausch & Lomb as a separate segment starting in the first quarter of 2021. Timing of the spinoff will then depend on a range of factors, including regulatory approvals. The move further breaks apart the former Valeant, which acquired Bausch & Lomb for $8.7 billion in 2013, under then-CEO Michael Pearson. Under Pearson, Valeant had used acquisitions to aggressively grow and become a popular stock, until the company was caught up in a series of drug pricing and accounting scandals. Shares have fallen 35% in the year through Wednesday, while the S&P 500
has gained 3%.