Alcon is an American Swiss medical company specializing in eye care products with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and incorporated in Fribourg, Switzerland. Alcon began as a US company and its US subsidiary’s headquarters remain in Fort Worth, Texas, where the Alcon division of the company was founded.

Alcon Inc.
Native name
Alcon AG
TypePublic (Aktiengesellschaft)
Founded1945; 77 years ago (1945) in Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Key people
David Endicott
RevenueIncrease US$8.3 billion (2021) [2]
Increase US$580 million (2021)[2]
Increase US$376 million (2021)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$28.0 billion (2021)[2]
Total equityIncrease US$19.2 billion (2021)[2]
Number of employees
24,389 (end 2021)[2]
Alcon offices in Johns Creek, Georgia

Alcon was a subsidiary of Novartis until April 9, 2019, when the company completed a shareholder approved 100% spinoff of Alcon eye care devices business from Novartis.[3][4]


The US division of Alcon was founded as an independent company in 1945 in Fort Worth, Texas, USA.[5] Since the current Swiss company that grew from multiple mergers retained the Alcon name, it is important to differentiate the former US company (now a subsidiary) from the much larger company that bears the same Alcon name. Alcon has not existed as a US-based company since 1977.

The original US company Alcon 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.[6] 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).[7]

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 its 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 ALC. 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.[8] Novartis bought 52% stake from Nestlé for $28.1 Billion. This deal brought the total ownership of Alcon by 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.[9]

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.[10]

On June 28, 2010, Alcon's Independent Director Committee announced that a recommendation by the committee was an indispensable first step before the board of the company can decide on the merger proposal of Novartis AG, 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) had set up a $50 million litigation trust to ensure company's minority shareholders get the best deal from bidder Novartis AG.[11]

On April 9, 2019, Alcon completed a 100% spin-off from Novartis.[4][12][13] The new standalone company is worth up to 28 billion Swiss francs.[14]

In November 2021, Alcon announced it would acquire Ivantis and their glaucoma surgery stent technology for at least $475 million.[15] In August 2022, Alcon agreed to buy Aerie Pharmaceuticals for US$770 million to enhance its ophthalmic pharmaceutical portfolio.[16]


  1. ^ "Contact Us". Alcon. Novartis. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Alcon Inc. 2021 Annual Report (Form 20-F)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 2022-02-15.
  3. ^ "Novartis announces intention to seek shareholder approval for 100% spinoff of Alcon eye care devices business". Alcon.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Anna (2019-04-10). "Novartis continues to 'reimagine' itself, as Alcon spin-off completed". PharmaTimes. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  5. ^ "Improving Vision through Innovation Since 1945".
  6. ^ Nicholson, Chris (4 January 2010). "Novartis to Buy Majority of Alcon From Nestlé". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014.
  7. ^ Taylor, Lisa (28 July 2002). "Permeating a market". San Antonio Business Journal.
  8. ^ "Reuters - Novartis announces offer to buy Nestlé's shares in Alcon".[dead link]
  9. ^ "Novartis announces intention to seek shareholder approval for 100% spinoff of Alcon eye care devices business". Scribd.
  10. ^ "Alcon Completes Acquisition of Durezol™ and Zyclorin™ from Sirion". Business Wire. March 29, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  11. ^ "Alcon (ACL) Sets up trust for litigation between with Novartis to protect minorities". The Chief Executive Forum. Archived from the original on 2010-07-10.
  12. ^ "Alcon tops $28 billion market cap in decade's biggest Swiss stock deal". Reuters. 2019-04-09. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  13. ^ "Novartis completes Alcon spin-off". April 9, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  14. ^ Smith, Anna (2019-04-10). "Novartis continues to 'reimagine' itself, as Alcon spin-off completed". PharmaTimes. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  15. ^ "Alcon agrees $475 million deal to buy U.S. eye surgery company Ivantis | Reuters". Reuters. 8 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Alcon buys the American Aerie Pharmaceuticals for 770 million". Swissinfo (in French). 23 August 2022.

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