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Alcon Shareholders Reject "Inadequate" Novartis Offer

Executive Summary

When Novartis announced on Jan. 4 its intention to not only exercise its option to purchase Nestle's remaining 52 percent stake in eye-care group Alcon, but also to buy out the remaining, minority-held 23 percent, CEO and Chairman Daniel Vasella claimed this second step would "create clarity for all stakeholders

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Business News, In Brief

Alcon puts its best foot forward pending Novartis acquisition: As activity escalates in the build-up to Novartis' controversial acquisition of Alcon, likely to close in late 2010, Alcon executives sought to present a top-shape image of their company in an earnings call on July 27. Companies usually emphasize strengths in their investor calls, but Alcon's stood out for its executives' use of superlatives in a quarter in which other pharmas tended to be tempered, due to U.S. health care reforms and EU austerity measures. The positioning makes strategic sense, given that an Independent Directors Committee is fighting Novartis over the merger terms on behalf of Alcon's minority shareholders, who include employees (1"The Pink Sheet," Jan. 25, 2010). "I believe no other company in eye care is better positioned than Alcon," stated CEO Kevin Buehler. The firm "delivered organic sales growth of 11.3 percent and total growth of 12.5 percent to $1.9 billion in the quarter," and net income rose 15 percent to $670 million. "We benefit by the fact that we have got this very diversified product line across three different business segments," Buehler noted. As soon as the results came out, the IDC issued a statement: "We encourage Novartis to recognize the company and its employees for their efforts," stated Thomas Plaskett, the IDC chairman

Business News, In Brief

Alcon puts its best foot forward pending Novartis acquisition: As activity escalates in the build-up to Novartis' controversial acquisition of Alcon, likely to close in late 2010, Alcon executives sought to present a top-shape image of their company in an earnings call on July 27. Companies usually emphasize strengths in their investor calls, but Alcon's stood out for its executives' use of superlatives in a quarter in which other pharmas tended to be tempered, due to U.S. health care reforms and EU austerity measures. The positioning makes strategic sense, given that an Independent Directors Committee is fighting Novartis over the merger terms on behalf of Alcon's minority shareholders, who include employees (1"The Pink Sheet," Jan. 25, 2010). "I believe no other company in eye care is better positioned than Alcon," stated CEO Kevin Buehler. The firm "delivered organic sales growth of 11.3 percent and total growth of 12.5 percent to $1.9 billion in the quarter," and net income rose 15 percent to $670 million. "We benefit by the fact that we have got this very diversified product line across three different business segments," Buehler noted. As soon as the results came out, the IDC issued a statement: "We encourage Novartis to recognize the company and its employees for their efforts," stated Thomas Plaskett, the IDC chairman

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