Novartis chief eyes bolt-on deals up to $1B

Novartis ($NVS) CEO Joe Jimenez (photo) has a shopping list, and he's not afraid to share it. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Jimenez chatted about his appetite for deals with the Wall Street Journal and with Reuters, saying that the drugmaker will be able to pay down debt and buy back stock, all while snapping up select "bolt-on" acquisitions.

Naturally, first on Jimenez's list are emerging markets, with deals in China, Russia, India, Brazil and Turkey top-of-mind, along with South Korea. Target types? Everything Novartis already does: Drugs, generics, vaccines, eye care, and consumer healthcare products, Jimenez told the WSJ. He'll look at the latter even in the U.S. Size? Up to about $1 billion.

Jimenez is also interested in animal health assets, Reuters reports. As the news service points out, sources have said that Novartis was one of the bidders chosen for the second round in an auction of some animal-health businesses Merck and Sanofi-Aventis are divesting to prepare for their big joint venture. "I wouldn't want to speculate whether we would be interested in that particular asset," Jimenez said, "but a bolt-on strategy for animal health would make a lot of sense." 

- see the WSJ coverage
- get more from Reuters

ALSO: FDA approved Novartis' Menveo meningococcal vaccine for use in children from two years of age and up, though they requested more information on use of the shot in infants. Report