At one point this year, Valeant Pharmaceuticals surpassed RBC to become the largest Canadian company by market capitalization. For a fleeting moment that meant Michael Pearson, Valeant’s CEO, chairman and largest shareholder, was worth more than $4 billion. But by late summer, Valeant was taking fire from multiple fronts. First, it was criticized for its drug pricing tactics. Second, a short-selling firm revealed Valeant’s previously undisclosed ties to Philidor, a mail-order pharmacy, which was alleged to have artificially boosted sales of some of its drugs. Over the ensuing tumultuous weeks, Valeant’s shares whipsawed. No one felt it as much as Pearson, whose own net worth swung by hundreds of millions from week to week. By the end of October, Pearson’s net worth had dropped to $1.3 billion. In November, Goldman Sachs forced him to sell nearly 1.3 million shares to cover a loan it made to him. There are doubts about whether he can hang on to the top job at Valeant.
*Other assets include cash, collections, primary residence and/or proceeds from prior asset sales.