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Walgreens to acquire 45 per cent stake in Alliance Boots in £4.27bn deal

Breaking news US pharmacy chain Walgreens has entered into a £4.27 billion cash and stock deal to acquire a 45 per cent stake in health and beauty giant Alliance Boots, which will create the "global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail"

US pharmacy chain Walgreens has entered into a £4.27 billion (US$6.7 billion) cash and stock deal to acquire a 45 per cent stake in health and beauty giant Alliance Boots.

The combined business will create "the global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail", with more than 11,000 stores in 12 countries.

The deal, set to be completed by September, will also create the largest global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution business with more than 370 distribution centres delivering to more than 170,000 pharmacies doctors, health centres and hospitals in 21 countries.

Walgreens will have the option to buy the remaining stake in Alliance Boots after three years. Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of Alliance Boots, said: "This strategic transaction represents a further vital step in achieving our vision of becoming a global healthcare leader."

In a joint statement, Alliance Boots and Walgreens said that there were "no plans for job reductions at either company".

"Alliance Boots remains committed to its current support offices across Europe, including the UK, as well as keeping the Boots operational hub in Nottingham," the statement said.

Mr Pessina added: "The fit is natural, Walgreens' consumer profile in the US is similar to Boots in the UK in many ways: a trusted and much-loved pharmacy brand with a strong heritage. Our pharmaceutical wholesale businesses will provide their logistics know-how to Walgreens and are well placed to be one of the growth engines of the new enterprise."

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Brian Austen, Senior Management

This is being made out to be a good business deal but the original purchase price paid in total was £12.4 Bn. This sale of 45% for £4.27 Bn values the whole business at £9.49 Bn.
There is more cash and less debt involved this time, which in the short-term will make the venture capitalists happy but it has not been a good investment. Boots pay very little corporation tax if any due to headquarters being based in Switzerland, just as Lloyds parent company in Germany. Independents cannot do such things. Walgreens will be looking for efficiencies to increase the return on their investment so as I said before, watch out Boots employees.

Michael Major,

Or maybe by liquidating their investment, KKR et al are buying into Vodafone's view that "Bricks-and-mortar healthcare facilities, including community pharmacies, will serve only as a last resort by 2020" (C&D article 11th June)

Brian Austen, Senior Management

I wonder how the under funded pension fund will be affected by this deal. Maybe that is the reason for the discounted price.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

I think this is more of a deal to keep KKR happy. Its been 5 years since their acquisition and normally PE (Private Equity) dont keep holdings for much longer than this. Infact KKR will get back the cash aspect of what they invested thereby allowing them to return monies to their backers. They put in £1.2B and will get back £1.2B in 95% cash and rest as wallgreen stock.

Pessina on the other hand will not take a majority of cash and will remain well invested in the new entity. It definitely looks like Wallgreens will buy out the whole venture in 2 and half years, for the pre-defined $9.3Billion. At this price and assuming net debts KKR and Pessina will have returned 2.2 x their initial investment in 7 years - this is not bad considering you are talking billions.

Anyway, it seems like a well constructed deal and I applaud Pessina's driving vision to create a true global retail pharmacy giant. I suspect when KKR eventually exit, Pessina will be there in the driving seat maintaining a large portion of Equity in the new enlarged Boots/Wallgreen. Pessina is a credit to British enterprise and for British Manufacturing, because Nottingham will be the real beneficiary with new jobs created to allow the increased output to market Boots Brands (e.g. No 7) into the US.


Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

I don't think anyone here could care less if KKR is 'happy'.

They will be pushing for remote supervision and layoffs or any way to reduce expenditure such as paying taxes elsewhere - and then... they will be 'happy' .

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

My comments were purely from a financial deal point of you. I am an independent contractor, but this does not mean I, by default, hate anything "positive" for our industry. Boots are a big player in the market and certainly the deal with Walgreens should be seen in a positive light, since this gives even better heavy weight representation when we go back to NHS Employers to negotiate a new contract.

The Americans are brash lot, but to their credit, they don't sit back and take things lying down.

As for a lot of disgruntled employee pharmacists, well this is the way forward in the new NHS, we all have to live with expectations of little or no growth in income due to our paymaster tightening his belt. It seems there is a complete disconnect between employee wage expectations and the real economy.

As for KKR, they have done a brilliant deal!! To make £1.5billion is a nice reward for a risky corporate takeover.

Brian Austen, Senior Management

This seems to be a discounted price. Is this Mr Pessina implementing an exit strategy. I would still worry about my job if I was part of the Boots senior or middle management, esspecially once Wagreens become the majority owners. We have heard promises before in other industries, Cadbury's for example where all promises were quickly forgotten once the old regime were no longer in charge.

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

May not be good news for Boots pharmacy employees. Google "Walgreens phamacist layoffs" or similar. They do not seem to have the greatest of relations with their pharmacists.

Adina Brown, Community pharmacist

birds of the same feather flock together.they sing from the same hymn book when it comes to relationships with the pharmcist who make them billionnaires

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

That much they have in common with Boots then.

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

A match made in corporate heaven.

Cut rates of pay. Terminate contracts. Ride rough shod over employees including pharmacists as well now.

A warning sign of a big business wanting to look attractive to an outside buyer - oh look what we have here...a buyer...

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