Walgreens Stakes Claim in U.K.’s Alliance Boots for $6.7 Billion

The retail pharmacy giant Walgreens announced that it has invested $6.7 billion in Alliance Boots in exchange for 45% ownership of the European pharmacy retailer. The move could very well make Walgreens the largest health, wellness and pharmacy retailer in the world.

Gregory Wasson, president and CEO of Walgreens, said in a press release that the announcement represents “an exciting opportunity to accelerate our five core strategies and advance that mission – in the U.S. and now internationally. We are bringing together the strengths and expertise of each company to create a worldwide healthcare platform for the future that can provide innovative ways to address global health and wellness challenges.”

According to the release, Walgreens, who recently acquired Drugstore.com, will pay a total of $6.7 billion to obtain a 45% equity interest in Alliance Boots. The payment will consist of $4.0 billion in cash and 83.4 million shares of Walgreens common stock, the release said.

The deal also states that Walgreens has the option to buy the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots by 2015, therefore giving Walgreens 11,000 stores in 12 countries. Walgreens could also become the largest global pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor with over 370 distribution centers.

According to the release, both Walgreens and Alliance Boots will still operate under their respective brand names, but could change after the completion “of the second step transaction.”

The initial deal is expected to be finalized on Sept. 1.

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