Updated to include new details of Novartis’ M&A strategy.
Novartis (NYSE:NVS) CEO Joe Jimenez’s consideration of the sale of the Alcon subsidiary has investors worried that the influx of cash – Alcon’s surgical devices and contact lens business could fetch as much as $35 billion – will result in another misguided acquisition.
The Swiss drugmaker paid $52 million for Alcon in 2011, but the division’s sales and earnings have been on the schneid for the past 2 years, prompting Jimenez to mull a sale. Also in play is a $ 14 billion stake in pharma rival Roche (PINK:RHHBY) and a $10 billion over-the-counter drug joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK). Novartis faces a March 2018 deadline to exercise its put option for its 36.5%, with GSK said to be a willing buyer.
But the Alcon fiasco has investors chary of another big buyout.