Novartis buys 20 per cent of Roche

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Novartis, the Swiss drugs company, said on Monday it has bought 20
per centof the voting shares in Roche, its competitor, for
SFr4.83bn ($2.8bn) cash,...

Novartis, the Swiss drugs company, said on Monday it has bought 20 per centof the voting shares in Roche, its competitor, for SFr4.83bn ($2.8bn) cash, the Financial Times reports. The shares were obtained from BZ Group Holdings, the Swiss finance companyowned by Martin Ebner, who last year failed in his bid to get a seat on theRoche board as part of his campaign to reform the ownership structure of thecompany. Under Roche's dual share structure, votes are controlled by about 20 percent of bearer shares. Of these, 50.1 per cent are owned by the Hoffmann andOeri-Hoffmann families, giving them effective control of the company withless than 10 per cent of the shares. Novartis's stake represents about 3.7 per cent of Roche's issued securities, including the non-voting securities. First quarter 2001 sales figures showed the two companies to be of roughlysimilar scale. Novartis​, which was formed out of a merger by Ciba andSandoz, had sales of SFr7.3bn in the quarter, some 62 per cent inpharmaceuticals, which grew 10 per cent in Swiss franc terms. For Roche,first quarter sales were SFr7.0bn with 64 per cent of that being inpharamaceuticals, a 2 per cent fall on the same time the previous year aspatent expiries pared growth. Roche's​ share price rose some 4 per cent on the news. Source: Financial Times

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