Novartis to sell Greensboro Division to Eli Lilly

LONDON — British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline announced Tuesday that it will sell its cancer-products business to pharmaceutical giant Novartis, in a deal that will see the firm's Swiss rival pay $14.5 billion for its oncology unit.

Basel-headquartered Novartis said separately that it will sell its animal health division to U.S. firm Eli Lilly for $5.4 billion.

A Novartis spokesperson confirm the sell to WFMY News 2 and said the deal does include its division in Greensboro, N.C. The company has 250 employees in Greensboro, which is also the company's U.S. headquarters.

They said the deal is expected to close at the end of the first quarter in 2015.

Shares in Glaxo advanced close to 5% in the wake of the announcement while Novartis' shares added 1.2%. Eli Lilly shares moved up 1.5%.

Glaxo called the linked deals a "major 3-part transaction" while Novartis revealed that the multibillion-dollar deal may affect up to 15,000 of its employees globally.

Related: Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly major 3-part deal

Glaxo's North American headquarters is located in Research Triangle Park (RTP).

As part of the deal, Glaxo will purchase Novartis' vaccine business with the exception of its influenza vaccines and the two companies will enter into a new joint venture to form a consumer health care unit. Glaxo will retain a 63.5% stake in this new business.

The deal is expected to complete during the first half of 2015, subject to regulatory approvals.

In a statement, Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said the deals mark "a transformational moment" for the company by refocusing its business around three core strengths: innovative drugs, eye care and generics.

"They also improve our financial strength, and are expected to add to our growth rates and margins immediately," he said.

"Opportunities to build greater scale and combine high quality assets in Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare are scarce," said Sir Andrew Witty, Glaxo's CEO. "With this transaction

we will substantially strengthen two of our core businesses and create significant new options to increase value for shareholders."

WRAL is reporting that Novartis will sell its vaccine production plant which is located in Holly Springs, NC.


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