Novartis Buys Remainder of Alcon for $12.9 Billion

Novartis says it's now the world leader in the eye-care sector.

Swiss pharma giant Novartis said on Dec. 15 that it had acquired the outstanding shares it did not already own in Alcon, the world's biggest eye-care company, for $12.9 billion.

The drugmaker said that for every Alcon share, shareholders in the U.S. firm would get 2.8 Novartis shares and an additional cash payment, with the total combined value to reach $168.

The Basel-based company said the deal means Novartis was now the world leader in the eye-care sector, a key market as the population ages.

"The full merger is the logical conclusion of our initial strategic investment in Alcon," said Daniel Vasella, Novartis chairman.

"With this step, Novartis takes full ownership, becoming the global leader in eye-care, a rapidly expanding, innovative platform based on the growing needs of an aging population."

In 2008, Novartis reached a deal to buy Nestle's 77% stake in Alcon, committing then to make an offer for the outstanding shares once that accord was completed.

Alcon posted annual sales of $6.5 billion and net income of $2 billion.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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