DCSIMG

Walgreens to pay £9bn for full ownership of Boots

  • by GARETH MACKIE
 

Boots is to fall into US ownership after drugs store giant Walgreens unveiled a £9 billion deal to buy the part of the business it does not already own.

Under the terms of the deal, Walgreens will pay £3.1bn in cash and 144.3 million in shares for the outstanding 55 per cent stake in Alliance Boots, which comprises Boots the Chemist and pharmaceuticals distributor Alliance.

The enlarged entity, to be called Walgreens Boots Alliance, will be headquartered in the Chicago area, while Boots will retain its base in Nottingham.

Walgreens boss Greg Wasson, who will head up the combined group, said: “We are excited to move forward with the next important step in becoming a new kind of global health care leader.

“Expanding globally with Alliance Boots will make quality health care more affordable and accessible to communities here in America and around the world.”

Wasson said the group would be seeking $1bn in savings over the next three years through “corporate, field and store-level cost reductions”.

Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina teamed up with private equity firm KKR to take the Nottingham-based business private in an £11.1bn deal in 2007. Walgreens bought its 45 per cent stake in the firm for $6.7bn in 2012.

Pessina will remain as executive vice chairman of the combined company, responsible for strategy and mergers and acquisitions.

He said: “The expected creation of the new enterprise will represent the most significant milestone in the history of Alliance Boots and, importantly, a very positive step for the health care industry as a whole.

“Together with Walgreens, we have already made good progress over the past two years and I strongly believe that the merger will bring significant growth opportunities for both mature and emerging markets.”

Walgreens trades from more than 8,500 locations across the US, while Alliance Boots has 2,500 stores and about 75,000 staff in the UK.

 

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