Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said on Thursday that former chief executive J. Michael Pearson "remains a significant Valeant shareholder" with more than 3.5 million shares, and is required to hold 1 million shares for two years following his termination. The company made the announcement in response to reports out Wednesday that Pearson sold a large chunk of his holding in the drug maker. Valeant said it understands that Pearson exercised and sold options representing about 4.4 million shares, which would expire within the next 12 months. Pearson also sold about 411,000 common shares in June and July to satisfy tax obligations, the company said. "While I trimmed my ownership position for personal reasons, I plan on holding my remaining shares until the company recovers and returns to being traded on fundamentals," Pearson stated. The stock surged 2.6% in premarket trade, after falling 6.9% on Wednesday. Year to date, the stock has plunged 79% through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 5.3%.
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