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Novartis Sells Nutrition Unit

The deal is worth $2.53 billion.
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agreed to sell its medical nutrition business unit to


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for about $2.53 billion.

The transaction should close in the second half of 2007. Novartis' medical nutrition division is active in more than 40 countries and has about 2,000 employees. The business is projecting about $950 million in net sales this year.

Shares of Novartis edged up 10 cents to $58.18 in premarket trading Thursday.