Sometimes disappointing shareholders is the friendliest thing a company can do.
Novartis has been sitting on a massive $12.8 billion stake in Roche since 2003. The company earlier this year said it was considering selling the stake -- at a premium or not. But Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung reported Monday such a sale is on hold, with Novartis reluctant to sell until it can use the cash on a big acquisition. Otherwise, shareholders might just demand Novartis give the cash to them, in buybacks or a special dividend.