Novartis to set up 'integration office' following GSK deal

SWITZERLAND: Novartis will set up an "integration office" to aid in the process of its multi-billion dollar asset exchange with GlaxoSmithKline.

SWITZERLAND: Novartis will set up an "integration office" to aid in the process of its multi-billion dollar asset exchange with GlaxoSmithKline.

The office will function in an effort to "work on detailed plans for arranging the transfer of the associates and the business," said Julie Masow, director of external communications and issues management at Novartis, in an email.

Novartis announced Tuesday morning that it will acquire GSK’s oncology products for as much as $16 billion, while selling its vaccines, excluding the flu business, to GSK for $7.1 billion.

"We are committed to keeping associates informed on a regular basis on the progress made," said Masow via email.

The transactions are expected to close in the first half of 2015, added Masow.

She declined to offer further information, saying it is "too early to comment on what the combined organizations will look like."

The two pharmaceutical companies will also create a "new world-leading consumer healthcare business," where GSK retains majority control with an equity interest of 63.5%, according to a press release from GSK. Novartis will have a 36.5% share and four of 11 seats on the joint venture’s board.

"Opportunities to build greater scale and combine high quality assets in vaccines and consumer healthcare are scarce," said Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK in a statement. "With this transaction we will substantially strengthen two of our core businesses and create significant new options to increase value for shareholders."

Novartis also agreed to sell its animal health division to Eli Lilly & Company for about $5.4 billion.

Representatives from Lilly were not immediately available for comment.

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