Alcon vote takes Novartis closer to buyout
Novartis’ proposed takeover of Alcon moved a step closer after shareholders of the United States eye care firm voted in board members nominated by Novartis.
Major shareholders of Alcon on Monday backed five directors put forward by the Basel-based pharmaceutical giant, giving Novartis a majority on Alcon’s board of directors.
The nominations will come into effect once Novartis has completed its acquisition of a 52 per cent controlling stake held by food giant Nestlé. The remaining transaction has been approved by European competition authorities as long as certain conditions are met.
Together with a 25 per cent stake bought in 2008, the acquisition would bring the Swiss drugmaker’s holding in Alcon to 77 per cent.
A majority on the board of directors will make it easier to push through its buyout of 23 per cent in the hands of minority shareholders. There has been strong resistance by Alcon’s Independent Directors Committee, which represents minority shareholders, to a buyout, who say the offer is “grossly inadequate”.
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