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Novartis board member moots Roche merger

A NOVARTIS board member has suggested a merger between the drug maker and fellow pharmaceutical giant Roche, which both have extensive Irish operations.

Novartis board member Pierre Landolt said combining Roche and Novartis would make a European "pharmaceutical champion". The combined organisation would employ 1,500 people in this country.

Novartis indicated last month that it was actively looking for a major purchase, up to €7.5bn in value, in its drive to expand. "Novartis would be willing to invest significant money for a very good opportunity. I don't think a $10bn (€7.5bn) acquisition is out of reach" said chairman Joerg Reinhardt.

"Soon both companies will have new chairmen. That might make the dialogue easier," said Mr Landolt, a board member since 1996.

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