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Private equity firm makes buyout bid for Boots’ owner, reports say

Boots UK's owner is reportedly looking to take the company private
Boots UK's owner is reportedly looking to take the company private

Boots’ parent company has been approached by private equity firm KKR in what could be the “biggest-ever leveraged buyout”, media outlets have reported.

The global investment firm is “preparing a proposal” to potentially buy out shareholders of Walgreens Boots Alliance, taking the company private, Bloomberg said on Monday (November 11).

It has “formally approached” the US-based health and beauty giant, but the two companies could still “decide against pursuing a deal”, according to Bloomberg.

Walgreens Boots Alliance and KKR declined to comment to C+D.

Walgreens Boots Alliance chief executive officer Stefano Pessina previously partnered with KKR in 2007 to acquire Alliance Boots, seven years before it was bought by Walgreens.

Last week, it was reported that Boots’ parent company was exploring the possibility of a private buyout. However, Reuters claimed that many private equity firms had “pushed back on the idea”, due to concerns about the company’s “business prospects”.

In its latest financial results, Walgreens Boots Alliance reported that its adjusted operating income fell 11.1%, despite overall sales for June-August across the group having increased 2.6% compared with the same period last year.

Income drop and pharmacy closures

The business’s adjusted operating income in its retail pharmacy international division – which includes Boots UK – fell to $194 million (£150.7m) for the same period.

Boots is “on track” to close the remaining 182 of a planned 200 branches before September 2020, it said last month.

What do you think about a planned buyout of Walgreens Boots Alliance?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Ah, the language that companies understand. Money.

Hanbal Chaudry, Community pharmacist

When Tory’s or more likely labour decide to separate the wholesaler from Boots the sooner it will go bust like the rest of the high street. Matter of time! No money in Pharmacy number 7 or not!

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

The sooner this company folds the better.

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

Why so bitter?

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