Novartis ( NVS ) closed out an 11-month legal battle on Wednesday by paying $12.9 billion to shareholders of Alcon ( ACL ) as the Basel, Switzerland-based company assumes control of nearly three-quarters of the world's vision care market, Forbes reports .
Novartis, whose specialty is contact lenses and technologies for eye care, already controlled 77 percent of Alcon, whose focus is surgical products for opthomology.
Novartis now assumes full control. Novartis originally acquired a one-quarter stake in Alcon from Nestle (NSRGY.PK) for $143 per share, which was an $11.4 billion deal. That stake more than doubled by January 2009, when Novartis' holdings amounted to 52 percent after paying $180 per share.
Novartis then paid $38.5 billion to control 77 percent of the company but Alcon's independent directors opted against being paid less than $168 per share, which kicked off the legal battle for which the directors at Alcon created a $50 million trust fund to cover legal fees. Novartis ultimately relented, agreed to pay more cash to minority shareholders, and the total amount of money it paid to assume control of Alcon reached $51.4 billion.
The merger is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.
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