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Novartis closes Alcon acquisition

Novartis has acquired full ownership of US-based Alcon, the largest eye-care company in the world, buying remaining shares for a total of $12.9bn

Novartis has acquired full ownership of US-based Alcon, the largest eye care company in the world, buying the shares it didn't already own for a total of $12.9bn after a months-long battle with minority shareholders who didn't want to sell. 

The Swiss drugmaker revised its offer of 2.8 Novartis shares for each Alcon share by adding a cash component, winding up with a deal that includes up to 2.8 Novartis shares plus enough cash to ensure that each Alcon shareholder gets $168 per Alcon share if needed.

Alcon said that after it had received a fairness opinion from its independent financial adviser, the company's originally resistant Independent Director Committee recommended approval of the merger agreement to the Alcon board, and the board then unanimously approved the merger.

Post-merger, Alcon will be Novartis' second-largest division and will integrate many of Novartis' own ophthalmic products. In all, the new division will have more than $8.7bn in sales.

"The merger will allow Alcon to benefit from Novartis' global commercial capabilities across multiple healthcare product categories," Alcon said. "This includes best-in-class reimbursement and market access capabilities that can be leveraged to accelerate Alcon's growth around the world, such as enhanced market access for advanced technology intraocular lenses in Europe."

Alcon has annual sales of about $6.5bn. Its products include pharmaceuticals, surgical equipment and devices, contact lens solutions and other vision care products.

Novartis also announced a $10.3bn share buyback programme to minimise dilution of its own stock as a result of the Alcon deal.

15th December 2010

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