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Novartis Takes Over Nestle Unit for $11 Billion

Date: 04-08-2008

Novartis AG has agreed to buy Nestle’s 25% stake in Alcon for $11 billion with an option of a further 52% buyout from the food giant for an additional $28 billion. The second largest drug company will shell out about $143.18 per Alcon share, a 4% discount to Alcon’s closing price, according to the deal. Novartis is expected to add about $5.6 billion in sales by buying Alcon, which also gives the company the Opti-Free contact lens treatment and Travatan, a glaucoma medicine. Analysts say that Novartis will use Alcon’s sales returns to reduce debt and boost the company’s nutritional foods division. Credit Suisse Group advised Nestle on the deal, while Goldman Sachs Group advised Novartis to go forward with the transaction. “The margins are higher than our pharma business and are obviously very attractive,” Novartis Chief Executive Daniel Vasella told reporters.
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