Alcon, Inc. (NYSE: ACL) announced today that its board of directors approved a merger agreement with Novartis AG, whereby Novartis will pay a total merger consideration valued at $168 per share for the Alcon shares it does not currently own. Under the terms of the deal, the merger consideration will be comprised of a combination of Novartis shares and, if necessary, a cash contingent value amount to result in a total value of $168 per share. The exact exchange ratio and cash contingent value amount will be calculated based upon formulas set forth in the merger agreement.

In accordance with Alcon’s Organizational Regulations and after receiving a fairness opinion from its independent financial adviser, Greenhill & Co., the Independent Director Committee (IDC) recommended approval of the merger agreement to the Alcon board. The board also received a separate fairness opinion rendered by Lazard in connection with the transaction. After considering these items and other appropriate information and factors, the Alcon board approved the merger proposal.

“This merger will create a stronger eye care business with broader commercial reach and enhanced capabilities to develop more new and innovative eye care products that address unmet clinical needs in eye care,” said Kevin Buehler, Alcon’s president and chief executive officer. “The combination of Alcon’s deep understanding of the eye care specialty and the broad expertise and scale of Novartis will allow us to address virtually all key areas of eye care with quality products and will position the Alcon business for faster growth.”

“I congratulate the entire Alcon board, including the IDC, and Novartis for achieving a favorable resolution on the merger in a manner consistent with our Organizational Regulations. This now allows us to begin planning for the integration and creation of a dynamic eye care division within Novartis after final shareholder approval,” added Buehler. “I also thank our employees for their patience and for maintaining their focus on Alcon’s business activities during this process.”