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Boots UK: Parent company decides against selling pharmacy chain

Boots’ parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance has ultimately decided not to sell the UK pharmacy chain, following months of speculation as to who could snap up the health and beauty giant.

This concludes the company’s “strategic review” into its UK business, which reportedly saw it tabling multi-billion pound bids from private equity firms and Asda owners, the Issa brothers.

No prospective buyers were able to make an offer “that adequately reflects the high potential value” of Boots UK and the company’s No7 Beauty brand, Walgreens Boots Alliance said in an announcement today (June 28).


Read more: Could the Boots UK sale fall through?


The company cited “market instability” impacting on companies’ ability to get financial backing, which was caused by “unexpected and dramatic” changes to global financial markets since Boots and No7 were put up for sale in January.

Walgreens Boots Alliance received “significant interest from prospective buyers”, but ultimately decided it was in shareholders’ interest to keep hold of the businesses and “keep focusing on [their] further growth and profitability”.

It appears to confirm media reports that bidders were unable to match Walgreens Boots Alliance’s ambition to sell Boots UK for £7 billion.


Read more: Boots UK sale: speculation and potential market impact – where are we now?


However, both Boots and No7 have “exceeded expectations despite challenging conditions”, which further supported Walgreens Boots Alliance’s decision to keep hold of the companies, it said.


An “exciting time”


Walgreens Boots Alliance chief executive officer Rosalind Brewer said the outcome of the “thorough” strategic review signalled an “exciting time” for Boots and No7.

“The board and I remain confident that Boots and No7 Beauty Company hold strong fundamental value, and longer term, we will stay open to all opportunities to maximise shareholder value for these businesses and across our company,” she commented.


Read more: Boots owner will reportedly keep stake in chain to ease sale of UK arm


Rumours that Walgreens Boots Alliance was considering selling off Boots UK first surfaced at the end of last year, prompting media speculation as to who could decide to buy the pharmacy chain.

Since then, speculation that the sale could fall through has dogged the company, with prospective buyers reportedly dropping in and out of the running and the final bidding deadline rumoured to have been extended several times.


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