New Novartis chief scouting for 'bolt-on' buyouts

Newly-appointed Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez got his first chance to take the lead role at the annual shareholders' meeting today, and started to give the industry a better feel for just the kind of new acquisitions that will mark his tenure at the helm of the pharma giant.

First, he told shareholders, don't look for any more big acquisitions like the $39.3 billion buyout of Alcon. "We may go for smaller, bolt-on acquisitions to help build scale in vaccines, generics and consumer health, but we will not go for one of the same size and scale as Alcon for the foreseeable future," Jimenez added.

Ex-CEO Daniel Vasella has been winning kudos for leaving Novartis better positioned than most of its competitors to avoid getting walloped by the approaching loss of blockbuster patents. "Novartis has better prospects than many of its European competitors, except Roche, to overcome the challenges posed by the patent cliff in the period between 2010 and 2012 with growth from new products and diversified earning streams," Sarasin analyst David Kaegi told Reuters.

- here's the story from Reuters
- and here's the Dow Jones piece