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Friday 08th of January 2010
January 4, 2010    

Novartis buys Alcon for $40bn

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by Kay Murchie
Novartis buys Alcon for $40bn

Swiss pharmaceuticals group, Novartis International, has started the New Year on a high with one of Europe’s largest ever takeovers.

Novartis has agreed to take full control of Alcon, a leading maker of eye care products, in a deal worth $40 billion (£24.8 billion).

Novartis bought 25% of eye care specialist Alcon, which is also the maker of Opti-Free contact lens cleaners, from Nestlé in April 2008 and is now exercising its option to buy the remaining 52% stake for $28.1 billion.

Novartis then plans to spend a further $11.2 billion on buying the remaining 23% stake it does not own in Alcon.

Commenting on the deal, Daniel Vasella, chairman and chief executive of Novartis said: “The addition of Alcon will strategically strengthen our healthcare portfolio and our position in eye care, a sector with dynamic growth due to the increasing patient needs of an ageing population.

“This is the right time to simplify Alcon’s ownership to eliminate uncertainties for employees and shareholders. It will also allow us to strengthen innovation power by combining R&D efforts and grow our global market presence thanks to our complementary product portfolios,” added Vasella.

The deal is also expected to bring together research and development operations, potentially saving millions of dollars for both companies.

Today’s deal follows much consolidation within the healthcare industry as many drugs are losing their patent protection.

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