Novartis buys into eye care specialist

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has finalised the purchase of a 25 per cent stake of eye care company Alcon for $10.4 billion (SFr10.64 billion) in cash from Nestlé.

This content was published on July 8, 2008 minutes

The drugmaker said in a statement on Tuesday that the price was $200 million less than previously announced, due to a dividend payment.

The purchase is the first step in Novartis' agreement to acquire a majority stake in American firm Alcon from Swiss food multinational Nestlé. The deal was announced in April.

Novartis has the right to buy - and Nestlé the right to sell – a further 52 per cent stake in Alcon, for a price of not more than $28 billion. The pharmaceutical company is already active in the eye care business with its Ciba Vision unit.

Fort Worth-based Alcon employs 14,500 people in 75 countries. After the Novartis buyout, it will remain an independent company.

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