Walgreens Boots Alliance has agreed a $17.2bn (£11.2bn) takeover of US rival Rite Aid. It comes as the global pharmacy and health giant filed big jumps in sales and profits for the past year thanks to last year’s mega-merger of Walgreens with Alliance Boots.
Walgreens Boots will pay $9 a share in an all-cash deal for Rite Aid, which operates 4,600 stores in 31 US states, uniting two of the country’s three biggest drugstore owners.
“It is another step in Walgreens Boots Alliance’s global development and continues our profitable growth strategy,” said Stefano Pessina, Walgreens Boots executive vice chairman and CEO.
The takeover has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and now needs shareholder approval and US regulatory clearance.
Walgreens Boots also increased net earnings in the year to 31 August by 118% to $4.2bn, with sales rising 35.4% to $103.4bn. The boost was largely the result of the 2014 £9bn merger of Walgreens and Alliance Boots.
The retail pharmacy international division, which includes Boots in the UK and 4,565 stores in eight countries, generated total sales of $8.8bn in the period, up 3.6% on a like-for-like basis.
Walgreens Boots added the group made savings of $799m in the year and expected to hit its target of $1bn of synergies in 2016. In June, the pharmacy group announced it was axing 700 jobs in the UK as part of the $1.5bn restructuring to “simplify support operations”.
Pessina said: “We are pleased with our progress and performance in the fourth quarter and in our first fiscal year since launching Walgreens Boots Alliance. While we have much work to do and operate in some challenging markets, we are excited and energised by the outlook and opportunities ahead as we put in place our strategies for long-term, sustainable growth. We believe we can shape the future of health care around the world through our ability to bring global solutions to local communities, benefiting all participants, populations and stakeholders.”