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Novartis' CEO Says Company Open To Selling Its $14 Billion Stake In Roche 'If The Opportunity Were Right'

Jayson Derrick

Switzerland-based Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE: NVS) owns a roughly $14 billion stake in rival Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTC: RHHBY) and is actively shopping for buyers to acquire its stake.

According to Reuters, Novartis has been working with bankers to explore the sale of its stake in Roche and would use the proceeds for new deals.

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Reuters also quoted Novartis' CEO Joe Jimenez who suggested on Wednesday that he may even accept an offer at a current market price, even though accepting a premium had been a deal-breaker in the past.

"We would now think through that, and would potentially make a decision to exit without a premium, if the opportunity were right," Jimenez told investors at an event in Basel.

Novartis acquired a one-third stake in Roche between 2001 and 2003 as part of a merger attempt that never materialized.

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