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Boots’ owner rumoured to be selling off UK pharmacies

Boots UK reduced hours to minimally impact pharmacy team

By Isabel Shaw
Reporter

06 Dec 2021

The parent company of Boots UK is reportedly considering putting its UK pharmacies up for sale next year. 

According to a Sky News report last week (3 December), Walgreen Boots Alliance (WBA), the US retail giant which has owned Boots since 2012, is lining up advisers from Goldman Sachs and the Wall Street Bank to advise it on options that could lead to a potential sale next year. 

However, ‘city sources’ told Sky News that the ‘process would be exploratory and might not ultimately lead to WBA disposing of Boots.’  

‘Spinning the chain off into a separately listed company could also be a possibility’, they added. 

As it stands, the company has more than 2,000 outlets in the UK and employs about 55,000 people. 

In a statement, WBA told The Pharmacist: ‘Walgreens Boots Alliance 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.’ 

The company also said that Boots UK was continuing to expand its healthcare offering, while its online operation ‘continues to grow above expectations having more than doubled sales when compared to pre-pandemic levels’. 

Today, Boots UK said it would not be commenting ‘at this stage’.

This comes just six months after WBA completed the sale of its wholesaler arm, Alliance Healthcare, to US wholesale company AmerisourceBergen Corporation for $6.5bn. 

Previously, the company confirmed that Alliance Healthcare UK will remain the distribution partner of Boots UK until 2031, as part of the deal. 

The sale, first announced in January, was finalised for $6.275bn cash and two million shares of AmerisourceBergen common stock. 


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