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Novartis Weighs Sweetening Buyout Offer As Alcon Shareholders Fight Back

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Independent Alcon shareholders have held out for months for a per-share buyout offer that's closer to the price Novartis is paying for the majority of the company. If Novartis wants to avoid an extended legal battle, it may accede to their demands

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Novartis Wraps Up Alcon Ownership, Forms New Eye Care Unit

Novartis will create an eye care division, its second-largest unit and the fifth growth platform in its health care portfolio, with full ownership of Alcon, the world's largest eye care company.

Novartis wraps up Alcon majority stake

Novartis acquires Nestle's 52 percent stake in Alcon for $28.3 billion, giving Novartis a total of 77 percent ownership in the eye care firm. With the Nestle deal completed Aug. 26, Novartis continues its quest for the remaining 23 percent of Alcon held by independent stockholders, who have rejected Novartis' proposed purchase price as inadequate (1"The Tan Sheet" Aug. 23, 2010). "We are ready to defend the rights of Alcon and its minority shareholders if Novartis refuses to negotiate a fair deal," said Thomas Plaskett, chairman of Alcon's independent director committee

Sales & Earnings In Brief

Sanofi's consumer sales soar: Sanofi-Aventis' rapidly expanding consumer business grew 27 percent in 2009 to 1.43 billion euros ($1.96 billion). Sanofi plans to double Chattem's sales of $1.4 billion in part by switching the prescription allergy drug Allegra in early 2011, CEO Christopher Viehbacher said during a Feb. 10 earnings call (1"The Tan Sheet" Jan. 4, 2010). Sanofi completed its $19 billion acquisition of Chattem Feb. 9 (2"The Tan Sheet" Feb. 1, 2010). Overall, the firm's fiscal 2009 sales grew 5.3 percent at constant exchange to 29.3 billion euros ($40.26 billion). The firm continues to focus on its long-term, sustainable growth strategy of expanding its consumer health business, but Viehbacher notes the Paris firm has not forgotten its short-term strategy. "Sometimes you hear people talk about the long term because the short term is not so good," but Sanofi's 13.1 percent increase in earnings per share in fiscal 2009 to 6.49 euros ($8.91 based on Feb. 10 exchange rates) denotes a "very strong performance," he said

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