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UPDATED: Pharmacy2U buys LloydsDirect for undisclosed sum

Pharmacy2U has snapped up Lloydspharmacy’s online prescription service LloydsDirect in a deal set to combine two of the country’s highest-profile online pharmacy businesses.

The news was revealed in a joint statement posted on both companies’ websites yesterday (October 5), in which they noted that they “share a heritage in online pharmacy and repeat dispensing”.

A spokesperson for Pharmacy2U would not disclose how much the deal was worth, telling C+D that the terms of the deal “have not been disclosed”.

However, the companies said that the acquisition would bring together “two of the most trusted and experienced online pharmacies in the UK”.

Read more: Pharmacy2U 2021/22 financial results reveal 'dramatic' yearly increase

According to the statement, LloydsDirect, formerly part of the Lloydspharmacy group, “[helps] more than 500,000 patients” in England and will be incorporated into Pharmacy2U “over time”.

The teams “will now work closely together to retain the patient–centricity and service excellence for which both are individually famous”, the statement added.

 

“Delighted”

 

Pharmacy2U’s CEO Kevin Heath said that he was “delighted” to welcome LloydsDirect into Pharmacy2U, adding that Pharmacy2U had “admired” LloydsDirect’s “innovation in patient experience and focus on sustainability”.

And Connie Cha, managing director of LloydsDirect, said that she believed the acquisition of would be “good for our patients and the work we do to support the NHS”.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy branch numbers dropped almost 50% in nine months

According to NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) data hosted on PharmData, Pharmacy2U and LloydsDirect were the top two pharmacies for items dispensed in June 2023, with Pharmacy2U dispensing 1.5 million items and LloydsDirect dispensing 1.1 million items.

By comparison, Well.co.uk, in third place, dispensed 128,691 items in June.

 

Staff not affected?

 

A spokesperson for Pharmacy2U told C+D on Friday (October 6) that the company is “not envisaging” that LloydsDirect staff will face “any impact” at "this stage".

However, they declined to comment on the sale process.

Read more: UPDATED: PDA begins legal process in ex-Lloydspharmacy staff employment row

The spokesperson said that the deal was “unconditional” and therefore “does not require Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approval”.

C+D has approached the CMA for comment.

 

How did we get here?

 

Pharmacy2U was started in 1999 and serves “over 750,000 patients” across England, it said.

Meanwhile, LloydsDirect began in 2015 and was then known as Echo. 

It was acquired by Lloydspharmacy’s then-owners McKesson UK in 2019 and was rebranded to its current name in July 2021.

Read more: Lloydsdirect gains sustainability certification for 'goals outside of profit'

In November 2021, the Lloydspharmacy group was purchased for £477 million by private equity company the Aurelius Group.

After months of speculation about the future of Lloydspharmacy, in January 2023, C+D exclusively revealed that the multiple would withdraw from all Sainsbury’s stores.

And C+D exclusively revealed in June that all the supermarket branches would be closed by June 13.

Read more: Pharmacy group set to double in size after acquiring 12 Lloydspharmacy branches

Under the ownership of Aurelius, Lloydspharmacy has seen mass sell-offs of its estate.

Once a rival to Boots, a C+D analysis showed in August that Lloydspharmacy was now the third-largest multiple in England after disposing of 461 branches - almost 50% - in just nine months.

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