Shifting employees from one location to another after corporate acquisitions is de rigeur and the pharmaceutical industry is certainly no exception. But the announcement earlier this week by Valeant Pharmaceuticals to move Bausch + Lomb headquarters and eye-care business to New Jersey from Rochester, New York, has a bunch of politicians irate.
No fewer than six elected officials – including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – have sent a letter in which US Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, promised that Pearson “would come to regret” the decision and also blasted him for being too vague about long-term plans for Bausch + Lomb R&D and manufacturing operations in the upstate New York city (here are their statements and the letter).
Strong language, although Schumer does not appear to be making a threat as much as trying to make the point that Valeant (VRX) is being short-sighted for uprooting employees who helped make Bausch + Lomb a long-standing presence in the eye business. The company has been located in Rochester for 160 years, underscoring the sort of culture shock and economic hit the politicians easily foresee.
In a memo to employees, Pearson wrote that as many as 10 percent to 15 percent of the combined workforce of approximately 19,000 people will be cut as part of a plan to save $800 million over the next year and a half (back story with link to memo). Currently, there are about 7,500 Bausch + Lomb employees in total, some of whom already work in New Jersey. About 1,500 people work for Bausch + Lomb in Rochester. We have asked for details about headquarter employment and will update you accordingly.
Most likely, Rochester will continue to feel aftershocks. Merck (MRK), for instance, acquired Schering-Plough four years ago and continues to cut jobs from the former Kenilworth headquarters that its erstwhile rival occupied. Last December, 150 jobs were eliminated from that location, according to a notice filed with New Jersey authorities. This comes, of course, on top of thousands of jobs already eliminated since the 2009 deal.
STORY ENDS HERE