September 12, 2007 / 4:14 PM / 12 years ago

Novartis says M&A is an option

LONDON (Reuters) - Novartis NOVN.VX chairman and CEO Daniel Vasella said on Wednesday he would continue to look at acquisition targets but would be selective about doing deals, with internal growth the top priority.

“If we see opportunities to create value, with a good strategic fit, then we will seriously consider it — but short of that, we won’t,” Vasella said in a webcast from an analysts’ meeting in East Hanover, New Jersey.

“I don’t think we have any business where we could not run by ourselves, where we absolutely need an acquisition. Having said that, if there are good opportunities we are trying to remain fast and flexible.”

Vasella has a track record as a deal-maker and has said in the past he is ready to make “targeted acquisitions”.

Earlier this year Novartis looked at U.S. biotech firm MedImmune, which ultimately went to AstraZeneca (AZN.L) for more than $15 billion, and more recently it has been rumored as a possible bidder for Bayer BAYG.DE.

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