For the surname, see Alcón. For other uses, see Alcon (disambiguation).
Alcon, Inc.
Subsidiary of Novartis
Industry Ophthalmology
Founded Fort Worth, Texas, United States (1945)
Headquarters Hünenberg, Switzerland
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Key people
F. Michael (Mike) Ball Global Head
Products Ophthalmic pharmaceuticals
Surgical equipment
Contact care products
Dry Eye Products
Ocular Vitamins
Revenue Increase $10 billion USD (2011)
Number of employees
23,000+ (2011)

Alcon is an American global medical company specializing in eye care products and headquartered in Hünenberg, Switzerland. Alcon's American headquarters are located in Fort Worth, Texas. Alcon is a subsidiary of Novartis.[1]


Alcon was founded in 1945[2] in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. The company started as a small pharmacy in Fort Worth and was named for its founders, pharmacists Robert Alexander and William Conner. Conner and Alexander focused on sterile ophthalmic products.

Nestlé of Switzerland purchased Alcon in 1977. Alcon expanded its manufacturing capability with new plants in South America and Europe and drastically increased its investment in research. In 1979, Alcon acquired Texas Pharmacal Company which became Dermatological Products of Texas (and is now DPT Laboratories). In 1984, Alcon founded the Technical Excellence Award to promote achievements in R&D excellence and has awarded it to more than 100 recipients. The Alcon product line has expanded from pharmaceuticals to the surgical arena. Today, Alcon has operations in 75 countries and their products are sold in over 180 countries.

Nestlé conducted an initial public offering of 25% of its stake in Alcon in 2002. The stock is traded under the ticker symbol ACL. In July 2008, Novartis purchased approximately 25% of Nestlé's stake in Alcon, with an option to buy Nestlé's remaining shares beginning in 2010.[3] Novartis bought 52% stake from Nestlé for $28.1 Billion. This deal brought the total ownership of Novartis to 77%. Beginning January 2010 Novartis formally announced it will be completing the exercise options for finishing purchasing the rest of Alcon and then promptly continue to exercise merger and takeover of Alcon.[1] On March 29, 2010, Alcon acquired Durezol and Zyclorin from Sirion Therapeutics. Alcon received regulatory approval to acquire the rights of Durezol emulsion in the US and the global rights, excluding Latin America, for Zyclorin from Sirion Therapeutics.[4]

On June 28, 2010 the Alcon Independent Director Committee announced that Professor Hans Caspar von der Crone, a leading Swiss legal and corporate governance expert, had concluded that a recommendation by the Independent Director Committee is an indispensable first step before the board of Alcon, Inc. can decide on the merger proposal of Novartis AG, a conclusion which refuted Novartis’ public implications that it would be able to unilaterally impose the merger irrespective of the Independent Director Committee’s position once Novartis became Alcon’s majority shareholder. On July 8, 2010 Alcon's independent director committee (IDC) has set up a $50 million litigation trust to ensure company's minority shareholders get the best deal from bidder Novartis AG.[5]

In August 2010, Novartis acquired the remaining 52 percent of Alcon shares that Nestlé owned, completing the second step of the transaction to become Alcon’s majority owner.


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