NovartisNovartis has acquired a 25% stake in Alcon Inc. (NYSE: ACL) as part of a definitive agreement with Nestlé S.A. reached in April 2008 that provides the right to acquire majority ownership of the world leader in eye care in two steps.

The first step was completed on July 7 when Novartis purchased the Alcon stake from Nestlé for approximately USD 10.4 billion in cash. This purchase price was approximately USD 200 million less than previously announced to account for the Alcon dividend paid in May 2008 for these shares to Nestlé rather than Novartis.

The optional second step provides rights for Novartis to acquire, and Nestlé to sell, the remaining 52% stake held by Nestlé between January 2010 and July 2011 for a price not exceeding approximately USD 28 billion.

Completion of the optional second step would make Alcon a majority-owned subsidiary of Novartis, strengthening a portfolio focused on growth areas of healthcare. This portfolio include innovative medicines, generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostics and consumer health products.

Alcon is the world's largest and most profitable eye care company with 2007 annual sales of USD 5.6 billion, operating income of USD 1.9 billion and net income of USD 1.6 billion. Alcon offers a range of pharmaceutical, surgical and consumer eye care products used to treat diseases, disorders and other conditions of the eye.

About Novartis
Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused on growth areas in healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2007, the Group's continuing operations (excluding divestments in 2007) achieved net sales of USD 38.1 billion and net income of USD 6.5 billion. Approximately USD 6.4 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 98,200 full-time associates and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit