Novartis acquires a quarter of Alcon

BASEL, Switzerland Novartis on Tuesday acquired a 25 percent stake in Alcon as part of a definitive agreement with Nestle S.A. reached in April 2008 that provides the right to acquire majority ownership of the world leader in eye care in two steps.

The first step was completed on July 7 when Novartis purchased the Alcon stake from Nestle for approximately $10.4 billion in cash, approximately $200 million less than previously announced to account for the Alcon dividend paid in May 2008 for these shares to Nestle rather than Novartis.

The optional second step provides rights for Novartis to acquire, and Nestle to sell, the remaining 52 percent stake held by Nestle between January 2010 and July 2011 for a price not exceeding approximately $28 billion.

Completion of the optional second step would make Alcon a majority-owned subsidiary of Novartis, strengthening a portfolio that would include medicines, generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostics and consumer health products.

Alcon is one of the world’s largest eye care companies with 2007 annual sales of $5.6 billion, operating income of $1.9 billion and net income of $1.6 billion. Alcon offers a range of pharmaceutical, surgical and consumer eye care products used to treat diseases, disorders and other conditions of the eye.

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