Nestle and pharma giant Novartis continued swapping brands today, with Novartis, which sold Gerber to Nestle last year, agreeing to pay $39 billion for a 77% stake in eye-care company Alcon, reports the Wall Street Journal. The two-step deal—Novartis will pay $11 billion for 74 million shares this year and buy the remaining shares by 2011—is among the largest in Swiss history.
Novartis, which also owns contact lens-maker Ciba Vision, will pay $143.18 a share for the initial stake—about a 5% discount—and pay $181 per share between January 2010 and July 2011 for the remaining shares. Alcon closed Friday at $148.44. Alcon had sales of $5.6 billion and a profit of $1.6 billion in 2007.