has entered into a merger agreement withNovartis
under which Novartis will acquire all of the shares of Chiron that it does not currently own.
Novartis will acquire approximately 113 million Chiron shares, or 58 percent of all Chiron shares, for $45.00 per Chiron share, or a total of approximately $5.1 billion in cash.
"Chiron has recently made tremendous strides, including returning to the US influenza vaccine market, building a compelling oncology pipeline and extending our growth in the Blood Testing business,” said Howard Pien, chief executive officer of Chiron. "We believe that Chiron's businesses will have significant growth opportunities as part of Novartis, which will enable us to continue to bring innovative products to patients."
According to a statement, Chiron's global Vaccines business, the fifth largest in the world and one of the largest suppliers of influenza vaccines, provides Novartis with entry into an increasingly attractive segment of the healthcare market and a promising source of growth.
Similarly, Chiron's Blood Testing business adds ‘a high-value profit driver to Novartis and may offer a potential platform for future developments in molecular diagnostics’. Chiron's BioPharmaceuticals business, which includes a portfolio of marketed products for cancer and infectious diseases as well as promising oncology research and development programs, will strengthen Novartis' specialty pharmaceutical portfolio and oncology pipeline.
The merger agreement is subject to the approval of the majority of Chiron's shareholders, US and European regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to be completed in the first half of 2006.