(Nov 25): Novartis AG agreed to buy Medicines Co. for an equity value of about US$6.8 billion ($9.3 billion), snapping up a promising cholesterol drug and adding to a string of acquisitions for Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan.

Medicines Co. shareholders will get US$85 a share, Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis said in a statement Sunday. That’s a 45% premium to the closing price on Nov. 18, before Bloomberg reported the two companies were in talks. The transaction value reaches $9.7 billion on a fully diluted basis that includes outstanding stock options and convertible debt, Novartis said.

The deal brings an experimental cholesterol treatment, inclisiran, into a stable of Novartis products that includes heart-failure medicine Entresto. Novartis’s CEO has relied on acquisitions to sharpen the pharma giant’s focus on cutting-edge drugs for cancer, rare diseases and other illnesses.

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