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Boots owner reportedly considering £10bn sale of pharmacy chain


By PA News

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The parent company of Boots is reportedly considering putting the pharmacy chain on the market next year.

US retail giant Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is lining up advisers from Goldman Sachs to explore a potential sale of the pharmacy, according to Sky News.

The PA news agency understands that a potential valuation of the business would be £10 billion.

However, the process is thought to be solely exploratory and may not lead to the sale of the 172-year-old firm.

Walgreens Boots Alliance said it does not comment on market speculation (David Parry/PA)
Walgreens Boots Alliance said it does not comment on market speculation (David Parry/PA)

In a statement, WBA said that while it does not comment on speculation, it was “accurate” that the company had announced a “renewed set of priorities and strategic direction for its future”.

In a statement, the company said: “Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) does not comment on market speculation and Boots is an important part of the Group.

“However, it is accurate that WBA announced a renewed set of priorities and strategic direction for the Group in October, which includes a more pointed focus on North America and on healthcare.

“As underlined during the last WBA investor conference, the Group continues to be very pleased with the performance of Boots and the International division as a whole.

“In line with the Group’s long-term healthcare strategy, Boots UK continues to expand its healthcare offering.

“Furthermore, boots.com continues to grow above expectations having more than doubled sales when compared to pre-pandemic levels.”

In an update in October, Boots reported a sales rebound after lockdown restrictions eased.

In the final quarter of its financial year to August 31, the company saw like-for-like sales increase by 12.8% to 34.3 billion US dollars (£25 billion) for the period.

It is accurate that WBA announced a renewed set of priorities and strategic direction for the Group in October, which includes a more pointed focus on North America and on healthcare.
Walgreens Boots Alliance

WBA highlighted that it benefited from a strong operational performance from Boots, with growth for both its retail and pharmacy arms.

Boots managing director Sebastian James said sales through its online business had doubled against pre-pandemic levels, with the firm maintaining this growth despite returning high street footfall.

Boots has more than 2,200 stores and employs 55,000 people.

Walgreens Boots Alliance was formed in 2014 after Walgreens bought the 55% stake in UK and Switzerland-based Alliance Boots that it did not already own.

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