Novartis agrees to buy Nestlé’s Alcon holdings

novartis_logoBasel, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Basel-based healthcare products Novartis has agreed to buy out the majority shareholding  in Alcon, eyecare specialists, from Vevey-based Nestlé, for CHF28.1 billion. Novartis paid $10.4 in 2008 for a 25 percent share and it has offered to buy the remaining 23 percent share for an additional $11.2b, bringing the total price for the company to CHF49.7b. The news was greeted with enthusiasm by markets, reports the Financial Times, with a 0.4 percent jump in the FTSE at opening Monday, normally a dismal post-holiday trading session.

Business Week reports that the sale leaves Nestlé in good shape for a major acquisition.

Nestlé has been divesting its non-foods sector investments since 2008, while Novartis has been diversifying, moving beyond its earlier concentration on pharmaceuticals but within the healthcare field. Its eyecare division will include Alcon, CIBA Vision and ophthalmic medicines.

Links to other sites: Business Week, Financial Times, Market Watch, Novartis press release