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Private equity firm Aurelius acquires Lloydspharmacy’s UK parent company in £477m deal

Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson has sold off its UK businesses to the private equity firm Aurelius Group for £477 million, it has announced.

The deal, which covers the company’s 1,325 pharmacies across the UK, wholesaler AAH, app LloydsDirect (formerly known as Echo), Lloydspharmacy Online Doctor, travel health service MASTA and its John Bell & Croyden branch in London, is expected to close in the 2022 financial year, McKesson said in a statement today (November 1).

Aurelius Group confirmed the acquisition, which represents the firm’s “largest transaction” to date, with a £477m “enterprise value”.

The deal follows McKesson’s recent sale of certain European businesses to the Phoenix Group.

In a statement today, McKesson’s CEO Brian Tyler said: “We are extremely proud of the role that our business has played to advance better healthcare in the UK, and especially the work during the pandemic to ensure that patients continue to have access to needed medicines and to assist the NHS with the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

“As we explore strategic options to fully exit Europe, this transaction provides our UK operation with the best path forward to achieve its long-term growth potential, while allowing McKesson to focus future investments in strategic growth areas outside of Europe.”

C+D has asked McKesson what will happen to the affected staff. McKesson said it has nothing further to add to its statement.

C+D has also contacted Aurelius for comment.


PDA: We will protect pharmacists' employment

McKesson has been dogged by rumours that it was in talks to sell off its pharmacies and wholesaling business in the UK since media speculation began in February. Aurelius was one of three financial investors reportedly tabling bids for the UK businesses in July.

In February, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union issued a statement to “reassure” members concerned by the media reports, stressing that it would do “all it can” to protect pharmacists at Lloydspharmacy, should an acquisition come to pass.

The PDA told C+D today that this commitment “still stands”.

Pay negotiation talks between the union and Lloydspharmacy will continue with the multiple itself, regardless of its new owner, PDA director Paul Day told C+D.

What do you make of the Lloydspharmacy sale announcement?

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