BASEL, Switzerland ( TheStreet) - Novartis

( NVS) will acquire the 23% of eye-care company Alcon ( ACL) it doesn't already own for $12.9 billion.

Novartis, the Swiss drugs company, will pay $168 a share for the stake, which is made up of 2.8 Novartis shares and contingent cash payment.

"The full merger is the logical conclusion of our initial strategic investment in Alcon. With this step Novartis takes full ownership, becoming the global leader in eye care, a rapidly expanding, innovative platform based on the growing needs of an aging population" said Daniel Vasella, chairman of Novartis, in a statement Wednesday.

The merger is expected to be completed during the first half of 2011.

Novartis said Wednesday it will fund the acquisition by issuing stock and through a stock buyback.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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