Novartis is to purchase 25% of Alcon from majority stakeholder Nestlé, with an option to purchase Nestlé's remaining shares, which currently amount to approximately 52% of Alcon. This is potentially the first step in a full-blown acquisition of Alcon by Novartis.
Novartis is to buy 74 million shares of common stock at $143.18 per share (totalling $11 billion) in a cash transaction. Alcon will expand its board of directors by two (one each to be designated by Novartis and Nestlé), to ten members. Alcon holds its annual general meeting, during which shareholders can vote on the board expansion, on May 6, 2008, in Zug, Switzerland.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.