Tags: Medicis | Shares | Tumble | Woman | Found | Dead | CEO

Medicis Shares Tumble After Woman Found Dead at CEO’s Home

Thursday, 14 Jul 2011 03:30 PM

Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., the maker of wrinkle treatments and acne drugs, fell the most in two months in intraday trading after the girlfriend of millionaire founder and Chief Executive Officer Jonah Shacknai was found dead at the executive’s beachside home.

Police officers in Coronado, California, responded to a 911 call from a residence at 1043 Ocean Boulevard yesterday and referred what they called a “suspicious death” to the homicide detail of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, according to a statement on the department’s website. The dead woman is Rebecca Nalepa, 32, identified by the sheriff’s department as the homeowner’s girlfriend.

“It’s just a little panic selling,” David Amsellem, an analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co. in New York, said in a telephone interview today. “There’s no question that Jonah is very much the face of the company and very much a part of the overall vision and strategy.”

Shacknai, 54, founded the company in 1988 and is the chairman. He held 904,214 shares of Medicis stock as of May 19, amounting to about $35 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shacknai drew a salary of $1.135 million last year, according to a company regulatory filing. His total compensation, including stock awards and non-equity incentive plan compensation, was $6.3 million.

Police Response

Coronado police “located a female adult on the property who appeared to be in distress,” the sheriff’s department’s report said. Officers provided medical aid until paramedics arrived and pronounced the woman dead.

“The condition of the victim and the scene showed suspicious circumstances that initiated the response from Coronado Police Department Investigators and in turn the Sheriff’s Homicide Detail,” the report continued. The homicide unit of the sheriff’s department has scheduled a media briefing on the case at 2 p.m. New York time.

Medicis is “deeply saddened to learn of a tragic incident at a California property owned by Jonah Shacknai,” Kara Stancell, a spokeswoman for the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company, said in an e-mailed statement. The company had no further comment, she said.

Medicis dropped $1.69, or 4.2 percent, to $38.36 at 1:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, after earlier falling to $38.10, the steepest intraday decline since May 13. The shares had gained 49 percent this year before today.

‘Bench Strength’

It’s unlikely Medicis will see disruption in its day-to-day operations because of the company’s “very good bench strength,” Amsellem said. He has an “overweight” rating on the shares.

Medicis makes the acne therapy Solodyn and wrinkle fighter Dysport. The company reported $700 million in 2010 revenue.

Shacknai’s home is one of the most famous residences in Coronado, an island city about five miles west of downtown San Diego. The 27-room mansion was built in 1908 as a beach home for John D. Spreckels, who owned the nearby Hotel del Coronado and is credited with much of San Diego and Coronado’s real estate and transportation development in the late 1800s and first two decades of the 1900s, according to the San Diego History Center’s website.

Before Medicis, Shacknai worked as an aide in the U.S. House of Representatives, drafting legislation on health care, science policy, the environment and consumer protection, and then served as senior partner in the Washington law firm Royer, Shacknai, and Mehle, according to the company’s website.

Shacknai graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, with a bachelor’s degree and gained his law degree at Georgetown University in Washington, according to Bloomberg data.

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