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‘Don't comment on rumours’ staff advised after Lloyds sale speculation

Toby Anderson: We would like to reassure staff that our priority remains on the business
Toby Anderson: We would like to reassure staff that our priority remains on the business

Lloydspharmacy teams have been told that “it is important” they do not comment on “rumours” of the multiple being up for sale.

A Sky News article published yesterday (February 16) suggested that Lloydspharmacy and AAH’s parent company McKesson is “in talks” to sell its UK pharmacy branches and wholesaler business, due to concerns about the industry’s financial viability.

In an email to branch managers this morning (February 17), seen by C+D, McKesson UK CEO Toby Anderson said that what was reported yesterday is “speculation” and “it is our policy to decline speaking to the press”.

“It is important that we do not comment on rumours, and if you are contacted by the press or any third party, please refer them to our PR team,” he added.

Lloydspharmacy reiterated to C+D that it does not comment on rumours when contacted for comment.

Business remains the priority

Mr Anderson used the email to “reassure” teams that “the focus and priority for us remain on the business and providing continued support for each other in delivering on our promises to our colleagues, customers and patients”.

“We would also like to thank you all for your ongoing commitment and support,” he added.

PDA: No talks on closure during negotiations

Earlier this month (February 8), Lloydspharmacy and the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union signed a voluntary recognition agreement to let the union negotiate pay and “certain terms and conditions” for the multiple’s pharmacists.

When asked by C+D if the PDA had asked of any impending sale when negotiating the recognition agreement, director Paul Day said: “This was not a topic discussed during the negotiations.

“Even if it were, it would not have changed the discussions, which are about how pharmacists exercise their collective voice at work at Lloydspharmacy as it is now.  Whatever happens in Lloydspharmacy’s future, the PDA will be there to represent our members,” Mr Day added.

While the rumours on the talks surrounding Lloydspharmacy’s sale remain unconfirmed, Mr Day said that, in a situation where McKesson decided to sell its Lloydspharmacy branches as a “complete business”, for instance to another multiple chain, “Lloydspharmacy would still be the employer, but with different owners”.

“If the business were sold in parts to different pharmacies, or groups of pharmacies, going to alternative owners, then our recognition would carry across with those pharmacists, as has already happened where some Boots pharmacies have transferred to new owners,” Mr Day added.

Presenting its fiscal 2020-21 outlook in May, McKesson predicted a 20-25% drop in adjusted operating profit across its European pharmaceutical solutions division, which it partly blamed on the “severe social restrictions” in the UK over COVID-19.

McKesson bought Lloydspharmacy’s former parent company Celesio in 2014.

What do you make of these rumours?

Cod Fillet, Community pharmacist


Amazon? Lloydspharmacy have their hub in Warrington and a big amazon warehouse in Warrington too...

We'll soon find out. Nevertheless, fills me with joy seeing Lloydspharmacy going. They consistently treated staff horribly.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

So, 'Lloydspharmacy isn't up for sale'; Walgreen Boots divest Alliance Healthcare - both effectively owned by American venture capitalists; Amazon now have CEO of Walgreen Boots, while themselves have registered the Amazon Pharmacy trademark - "Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee!"

R A, Community pharmacist

The only chap who might be interested in buying this business is Dominic Chappell after all he does have a thing for buying businesses on the verge of collapsing like BHS. The sad fact is most of Lloyds Pharnacy value is attached to those contracts to dispense NHS prescription but these are losing value very quickly.  Lloyds Pharmacy also has no real tangible assets therefore its a tough sale. After all the family who bought Co-op Pharmacy must be kickig themselves in the teeth! Pharmacy is no longer the cash machine it once was.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Another numpty family who did not do their due diligence regarding the Co-op should have learned from Lloyds who were saddled with the instore Sainsbury pharmacies and who CEO Coupe took to the cleaners since got good money as well off loaded the expensive running of them whilst still enjoying the footfall, any of the staff could have told them the pharmacies were losers but these Mckinsey folk always think they know better. If instore pharmacies were such great pharmacies you think then that Morrisons, Tesco and Asda pharmacies would have been gobbled up by now !!! but people now know they are not worth it and now struggling to find manager's and staff for the 100 hrs pharmacies unless can reduce the hours if can bribe the CCG staff. My advice only get involved with the NHS if you know a government minister and provide PPE.


Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

........and why is everyone scared to like or comment on this ????? Is it cutting too close to the bone ? ...ring of truth  perhaps ???

C A, Community pharmacist

Novel idea, maybe they should talk to the press and express their concerns over the future of pharmacy, you might get some public awareness or support?

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

The inevitable consequence of years of under investment in premises, IT and staff to satisfy the financial interests of their overseas shareholders? A foolhardy decision to buy the Sainsbury in house pharmacies a few years ago will additionally not have helped their predicament today.

I suspect they see investing at this stage would be unlikely to show any acceptable return with selling now the only logical option. 

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

So it is up for sale then!

C A, Community pharmacist

You were told not to talk about it David!
*cough* *wink* *cough*

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

They should inisot on break the business up and selling to individual pharmacists. 

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Another nail in the coffin for the multiples. It's about time pharmacies are are only owned by pharmacists. 

Female Tech, Pharmacy technician

Lloyd's staff were told not to worry about something they didn't know about, but now know about so are worrying.

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

lol welcome to the crew mate

Richard MacLeavy, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

It must be a new policy to not speak to the press. Toby Anderson himself gave several interviews to C+D, the pharmacutical journal, sky news, the mirror, BBC and others during the course of 2020. Maybe its a new years resolution

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Made me laugh

Cats out of the bag now. Some PE firm will asset strip it, what a thank you from capitalism for the tireless work during the pandemic..

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I find watching the stock markets is usually a good indication of what's going to happen. The traders usually have good insights and that's reflected in the stocks.

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