WBA revisits Boots sale plan as sales rise at the chain
Boots could be back on the auction block. Having removed the ‘up for sale’ tag last year, citing worsening economic conditions and no sign of a serious buyer, owner Walgreens Boots Alliance could be looking to offload or float the UK health & beauty giant later this year.
The US parent is under pressure to break up the global pharmacy giant it has built, according to financial website This Is Money.
Investors and board members are understood to want Walgreens Boots Alliance executive chairman Stefano Pessina and chief executive Rosalind Brewer to speed up plans to refocus the business on the US,
Regarding Boots and other operations in Europe as a “distraction”, they want Walgreens to separate off its international businesses as soon as possible, industry experts said.
Pessina, who was behind the two deals that brought Boots Alliance and Walgreens together in 2012 and 2014, is understood to still support splitting up the business, but is thought to be less eager to rush.
It would be the second time Walgreens has tried to hive off Boots in as many years. The parent company put Boots up for sale in January 2022 with a price tag of £7 billion – but this was called off in June after failing to find a suitable buyer willing to pay a premium price.
A stock market listing for Boots could be a possibility, experts also say.
Although Boots has struggled in recent years, there were signs the business’s fortunes are improving, especially after a solid Christmas trading period. Its continued association partnering with the highly successful Love Island TV series helped boost both image and beauty product demand.
Boots employs around 53,000 people in the UK and Ireland and has more than 2,200 stores.
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