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Two investment firms in rumoured joint bid for Boots UK as multiple confirms business review

Major private equity firms Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners have reportedly teamed up to make a joint bid for Boots UK.

Sky News reported yesterday (January 11) that US private equity firm Bain Capital and UK-based CVC Capital were pursuing a multi-billion pound takeover of Boots UK – the largest pharmacy and health and beauty chain in the UK, counting more than 2,200 stores and around 50,000 employees.

Estimates suggest the sale could generate £10 billion, The Guardian reported yesterday.

Bain Capital would not confirm if it was bidding to buy the multiple when approached by C+D.

CVC Capital has also been approached for comment.


Strategic review of business confirmed


Walgreens Boots Alliance announced “a renewed set of priorities and strategic direction for the group in October”  last year, to focus more on North America and healthcare, a spokesperson told C+D in December.

A Boots spokesperson confirmed to C+D this morning (January 12) that the strategic review announced by Walgreens Boots Alliance will primarily focus on its “successful”  Boots business and the No7 Beauty brand.

“This strategic review is at an exploratory stage and further announcements will be made in due course, after the right decision has been reached for Boots’ future and for all stakeholders,” they added.

In a conference call detailing Walgreens Boots Alliance’s latest financial results last week (January 6), the company’s senior executives Roz Brewer and James Kehoe made no mention of Boots UK’s potential sale.

However, they reported that the multiple is “continuing to recover nicely” from its 2020 losses in the UK, marking an 8.8% increase in pharmacy sales compared to the September-November period the previous year.

Rumours that Boots’ parent company was considering selling its UK arm first emerged on December 4 last year, when it was also reported that Boots might be “spun off” into a separately listed company.

In June last year, Walgreens Boots Alliance completed on the £4.43bn sale of its wholesaling arm Alliance Healthcare to AmerisourceBergen. Despite the sale, Alliance Healthcare will stay as Boots' distribution partner until 2031, the company said at the time.

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