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Novartis’s Jimenez Says Company Doesn’t Need a Large Acquisition

Novartis AG is interested in making so-called bolt-on acquisitions to complement its five divisions, rather than making a large purchase, Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez said.

“We’re obviously looking at a number of potential assets in those areas, but we’re going to have a very disciplined approach to M&A,” Jimenez said on a call with reporters today, after the drugmaker reported second-quarter profit. “I don’t think we need a larger acquisition.”

Novartis’s priority is to pay off debt related to its acquisition of the Alcon eye-care business, which the Basel, Switzerland-based company bought in stages for $50 billion starting in 2008, Jimenez said. Novartis said in May it will pay $1.53 billion for closely held Fougera Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a deal to become the top seller of generic skin medications.

“We are positioned very well to perform at the high end of the industry over the next five years,” Jimenez said.

Novartis’s five divisions are pharmaceuticals, the Alcon eye-health unit, the generics division Sandoz, consumer health products, and vaccines and diagnostics.

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