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Novartis completes Alcon deal

Novartis has announced it has acquired 77 per cent majority ownership of Alcon, a Swiss medical company specialising in eye-care products

Novartis has announced it has completed a deal giving the company 77 per cent majority ownership of Alcon, a Swiss medical company specialising in eye-care products.

Novartis, also based in Switzerland, became the majority owner after finalising the acquisition of 52 per cent of Alcon shares from Nestlé for a total of $28.3bn. Novartis had previously acquired a 25 per cent stake in Alcon in July 2008.

"We are delighted to become majority owners of Alcon. Together, both companies can achieve their strategic priorities to deliver against patient needs through innovative and differentiated products" said Joe Jimenez, CEO of Novartis.

Alcon is the world's largest eye-care company, with 2009 sales of $6.5bn and a net income of $2.0bn.

As part of the deal, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Novartis must sell eye drug Miochol-E (acetylcholine chloride), an injectable eye care drug used in cataract surgery.

Plans for a complete takeover of Alcon were announced at the beginning of 2010 though the deal ran into problems when minority public shareholders voiced concerns that Novartis had offered two groups of Alcon shareholders two different prices for the same stock.

Novartis has said a direct merger of Alcon into Novartis is proposed under the Swiss Merger Act at a fixed exchange ratio of 2.8 Novartis shares for each remaining Alcon share in order to acquire the remaining 23 per cent of stock.

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