This excerpt taken from the NVS 6-K filed Jul 19, 2007.
Proceeds from divestments to fund acquisitions and share repurchases
Novartis is strategically repositioning its activities to focus solely on healthcare, areas where the Group has expertise and synergies to better address the needs of patients, physicians and societies in a dynamically changing healthcare environment. These areas include innovative pharmaceuticals for human and animal health, vaccines and diagnostics, generics and consumer health products such as over-the-counter (OTC) brands.
Divestments of non-core businesses are on track to be finished in 2007. The sale of Medical Nutrition to Nestlé for USD 2.5 billion was completed on July 1, while the Gerber baby foods business sale to Nestlé for USD 5.5 billion is set to be completed in the second half.
Utilizing Groups strong free cash flow and proceeds from divestitures, Novartis intends to complete the approved share repurchase programs and to buy back the remaining open amount of up to approximately USD 4 billion in shares by the next Annual General Meeting in February 2008. Shares worth USD 800 million were already repurchased during the 2007 first half via a second trading line on the SWX Swiss Exchange.