Novartis now officially Alcon's majority shareholder

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Novartis and Nestlé have completed the purchase of around 156 million Alcon shares for a staggering $28.3 billion in cash, giving Novartis control of approximately 77% of Alcon?s outstanding shares.

Novartis and Nestlé have completed the purchase of around 156 million Alcon shares for a staggering $28.3 billion in cash, giving Novartis control of approximately 77% of Alcon’s outstanding shares.

“I would like to thank Nestlé for their outstanding contributions and support of Alcon for more than 30 years, which has been an important part of making Alcon the global leader in ophthalmology,” said Kevin Buehler, Alcon's president and chief executive officer. “We now welcome Novartis as our new majority owner and look forward to working with them to further enhance Alcon's business model, provide opportunities for future growth and deliver benefits to customers and patients around the world. ”

The transaction announced by Nestlé and Novartis does not affect the remaining 23 percent of Alcon's shares that trade publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. On January 4, 2010, Novartis proposed a merger of the two companies under Swiss merger law at a fixed exchange rate of 2.8 Novartis shares for each Alcon share which has a current value of approximately US$142. The Independent Director Committee (IDC) of Alcon's board of directors reviewed this proposal and rejected it on January 20, 2010 based on inadequate value.

“While Novartis is now our majority owner, Alcon remains an independent, publicly- listed company, and it is important to maintain good corporate governance around related- party transactions, ” added Buehler. “Alcon will continue to abide by the Organizational Regulations, which require the IDC to review and approve all related-party transactions, including the Novartis proposed merger. ”

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