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Boots' parent company sells off wholesaling arm Alliance for £4.7bn

Boots' parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance has sold the majority share of its wholesaling arm Alliance to healthcare company AmerisourceBergen for £4.7 billion ($6.5bn).

The acquisition, which was announced jointly by Walgreens Boots Alliance and AmerisourceBergen yesterday (January 6) applies to the global Alliance Healthcare business – including the UK market – with the exception of China, Italy and Germany.

The deal is expected to close “by AmerisourceBergen’s fiscal year-end 2021” on September 30, the two companies said in a statement published yesterday.

The agreement fetched Walgreens Boots Alliance £4.6bn ($6.275bn) in cash, along with two million shares of AmerisourceBergen common stock.

AmerisourceBergen’s acquisition of Alliance Healthcare will lead to “even stronger support for pharmacies and pharmacists across the globe and integrated solutions for pharmaceutical manufacturers”, the companies said in yesterday’s joint statement.

It will also allow Walgreens Boots Alliance to “increase its focus on expanding its core retail pharmacy businesses”, they added.

“A very positive development”

The announcement is the latest step in a partnership dating back to 2013. Walgreens Boots Alliance is the largest shareholder in AmerisourceBergen, whose offering includes pharmaceutical wholesale, with a nearly 30% stake in the company.

Ornella Barra, co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance and an AmerisourceBergen board member, told C+D yesterday that “this is a great agreement”, with Alliance Healthcare joining “a global distribution leader”.

The acquisition, through which Alliance Healthcare becomes “a key part of a global business fully dedicated to wholesale and its growth” will also “create greater career development and new opportunities for the Alliance Healthcare teams”, she added.

Commenting on the announcement yesterday, Julian Mount, managing director of Alliance Healthcare UK, said the news represented “a new and exciting chapter” for the business. ​

“I am tremendously excited about the opportunity this brings and am sure it will lead to some very near-term benefits for UK pharmacy customers, patients and the NHS,” he added.

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, described the acquisition as “a very positive development for the two companies”. The move is a “logical step following the success of our long-term strategic relationship with AmerisourceBergen which has been a strong and trusted partner since 2013”, he added.

“Alliance Healthcare UK will remain the distribution partner of Boots until 2031,” according to yesterday's statement. No details have yet been released on what will happen after this date.

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