Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has confirmed moves to buy a majority stake in eye-care company Alcon with a view to gaining full ownership.
The Basel-based group said it would complete purchase of food and drinks company Nestlé's 52 per cent stake and then intended to buy the remaining 23 per cent stake from minority shareholders.
The group said in a statement on Monday that the entire cost of purchasing Nestlé's 77 per cent stake in Alcon shares would be $38.5 billion (SFr39.6 billion).
Novartis bought 25 per cent of Switzerland's Nestlé's Alcon stake for $10 billion in 2008, agreeing then to buy the group's remaining majority stake for $28 billion.
Alcon has its United States headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, and employs around 15,000 people worldwide. When combined with Novartis, their portfolios would cover 70 per cent of the eye care sector.
swissinfo.ch and agencies