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Novartis AG agreed to buy Medicines Co. for an equity value of about $6.8 billion, snapping up a promising cholesterol drug and adding to a string of acquisitions for Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan.

Medicines Co. shareholders will get $85 a share, Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis said in a statement Sunday. That’s a 45 percent premium to the closing price on Nov. 18, before Bloomberg reported the two companies were in talks. The transaction value reaches $9.7 billion on a fully diluted basis that includes outstanding stock options and convertible debt, Novartis said.

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