Novartis creates generics giant

Novartis is set to become a world leader in the generic drug industry with the 5.65 billion Euro acquisition of Germany’s Hexal and the USA’s Eon Labs.

Novartis announced today the strategic acquisition of two leading generic drug companies that will be integrated into Novartis’ Sandoz division, creating the world leader in the generic drug industry.

Agreements have been signed to acquire 100% of Hexal, a privately held generics company in Germany, and a 67.7% stake in Eon Labs, a fast-growing US generics company that has a strategic partnership with Hexal. Novartis will pay a total of 5.65 billion Euros in cash for the acquisitions.

In addition, Novartis will launch a tender offer to acquire the remaining 31.9 million fully diluted shares (34.6%) in Eon Labs for $31.00 per share.

Novartis said in a statement that the acquisitions bring together ‘three premier generics companies that combine Sandoz’s global geographic presence and expertise in anti-infectives, Hexal’s leadership in Germany, and Eon Labs’ strong position in the US for “difficult-to-make” generics’. Generics are prescription drugs, which is chemically equivalent to a brand-name product, dispensed under its generic chemical name.

Sandoz, after the closing of these transactions, will be the global leader in generics with combined pro forma 2004 sales of $5.1 billion, a portfolio of over 600 active ingredients in more than 5,000 dosage forms and more than 20,000 employees.

The transactions, which are subject to regulatory approvals in a number of countries, including the USA and Europe, are expected to close in the second half of 2005.

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Eon Labs