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Novartis To Buy Speedel

Company acquired a majority of shares in Swiss pharmaceutical maker Speedel Holding AG and intends to buy the remaining stake, spending a total of $880 million.

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) -- Novartis AG said Thursday it has acquired a majority of shares in Swiss pharmaceutical maker Speedel Holding AG and intends to buy the remaining stake.

Novartis said it bought 51.7 percent of Speedel's shares on Wednesday, bringing its current stake in the company to 61.4 percent.

The Basel-based company said it plans to acquire the remaining shares of Speedel through a mandatory public tender offer.

The total costs of the takeover are estimated at 907 million Swiss francs ($880 million), Novartis said in a statement.

Speedel's activities will be integrated into Novartis, the company said, adding that it expects to save about $30 million per year this way.

Speedel and Novartis jointly developed the high blood pressure drug Tekturna, which is known as Rasilez outside of the United States.

Shares in Novartis were down 0.83 percent at 59.85 francs ($58.00) in Zurich.

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