HUNENBERG, Switzerland Alcon has seen Novartis’ acquisition offer, and it is not impressed.
Novartis announced Jan. 4 that it would acquire a 77% stake in the Swiss eye-care company for $38.5 billion, but an Alcon independent director committee called that amount “grossly inadequate” and said Novartis’ tactics were “coercive” and “offensive.” The Novartis proposal would distribute much of Alcon’s value to its two largest shareholders, though many of Alcon’s minority shareholders have been long-term investors in the company since its 2002 initial public offering or are employees of the company.
“Advocates of sound corporate governance and well-established principles of fairness and equity in both Switzerland and the U.S. are rightly offended by Novartis’ coercive attempts to take advantage of the Alcon minority shareholders,” committee chairman Thomas Plaskett said in a statement. “The committee will evaluate and take all appropriate and available steps to ensure that the rights of Alcon’s minority shareholders are not trampled on in the manner proposed by Novartis.”
UPDATE: A Novartis spokesman told Drug Store News Friday that the company declined to comment on the matter.