Novartis ADRs rose 3.8 % in premarket trading on Thursday after the firm announced it will buy back up to $15 billion in shares.

The $20.7 billion the Swiss drugmaker received from selling a portion of its share in rival Roche would be used to fund the repurchase.

Novartis said the buyback, which will begin in the next few days, will be completed by the end of 2023.

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Novartis held 33% of Roche's voting shares, or 53.3 million, and leveraged record-high stock prices to exit the firm it bought between 2001 and 2003.

Under then-Novartis Chief Executive Officer Daniel Vasella, the shares were acquired as part of a takeover effort. The project failed, although Novartis made a $14 billion profit on the initial investment.

Roche will cancel the Novartis shares it buys back.

Novartis claims that the buyback program will leave them with enough cash to sustain a rising dividend, as well as business investments and bolt-on acquisitions. It reaffirmed its expectation of revenue growth of 4% or more through 2026.