Walgreens $15bn deal for Boots approved

The combined group will be called Walgreens Boots Alliance. Picture: PA
The combined group will be called Walgreens Boots Alliance. Picture: PA
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WALGREENS investors have given their blessing for the US group’s $15 billion (£9.7bn) deal to become the outright owner of venerable chemist Boots.

At yesterday’s special meeting, shareholders in the drugstore giant voted in favour of its plan to buy the 55 per cent stake it does not already own in Alliance Boots, which owns Boots the Chemist and pharmaceuticals distributor Alliance.

The combined group, to be called Walgreens Boots Alliance, will be headquartered in the Chicago area after the US group decided not to pursue plans to cut its tax bill by seeking a foreign domicile. Boots, which traces its history back to 1849, will retain its base in Nottingham.

Walgreens, the largest retailer of pharmaceuticals in the US, said last week that it was on track to reach its target of $650 million in savings from the tie-up in its current financial year, which ends in August.

The group, which acquired a 45 per cent stake in Alliance Boots in June 2012, said the deal to take full control is expected to complete tomorrow. The enlarged entity will be listed on New York’s Nasdaq market.

Alliance Boots is headed by executive chairman Stefano Pessina, who teamed up with private equity firm KKR to take the Nottingham-based business private in an £11.1bn deal in 2007.

He is to serve as acting chief executive of the merged group after Walgreens boss Greg Wasson announced he would be retiring shortly after the deal is completed.

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