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‘Don't comment on rumours’ staff advised after Lloyds sale speculation

Lloydspharmacy teams have been told that “it is important” they do not comment on “rumours” of the multiple being up for sale.

A Sky News article published yesterday (February 16) suggested that Lloydspharmacy and AAH’s parent company McKesson is “in talks” to sell its UK pharmacy branches and wholesaler business, due to concerns about the industry’s financial viability.

In an email to branch managers this morning (February 17), seen by C+D, McKesson UK CEO Toby Anderson said that what was reported yesterday is “speculation” and “it is our policy to decline speaking to the press”.

“It is important that we do not comment on rumours, and if you are contacted by the press or any third party, please refer them to our PR team,” he added.

Lloydspharmacy reiterated to C+D that it does not comment on rumours when contacted for comment.

Business remains the priority

Mr Anderson used the email to “reassure” teams that “the focus and priority for us remain on the business and providing continued support for each other in delivering on our promises to our colleagues, customers and patients”.

“We would also like to thank you all for your ongoing commitment and support,” he added.

PDA: No talks on closure during negotiations

Earlier this month (February 8), Lloydspharmacy and the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union signed a voluntary recognition agreement to let the union negotiate pay and “certain terms and conditions” for the multiple’s pharmacists.

When asked by C+D if the PDA had asked of any impending sale when negotiating the recognition agreement, director Paul Day said: “This was not a topic discussed during the negotiations.

“Even if it were, it would not have changed the discussions, which are about how pharmacists exercise their collective voice at work at Lloydspharmacy as it is now.  Whatever happens in Lloydspharmacy’s future, the PDA will be there to represent our members,” Mr Day added.

While the rumours on the talks surrounding Lloydspharmacy’s sale remain unconfirmed, Mr Day said that, in a situation where McKesson decided to sell its Lloydspharmacy branches as a “complete business”, for instance to another multiple chain, “Lloydspharmacy would still be the employer, but with different owners”.

“If the business were sold in parts to different pharmacies, or groups of pharmacies, going to alternative owners, then our recognition would carry across with those pharmacists, as has already happened where some Boots pharmacies have transferred to new owners,” Mr Day added.

Presenting its fiscal 2020-21 outlook in May, McKesson predicted a 20-25% drop in adjusted operating profit across its European pharmaceutical solutions division, which it partly blamed on the “severe social restrictions” in the UK over COVID-19.

McKesson bought Lloydspharmacy’s former parent company Celesio in 2014.

What do you make of these rumours?

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