Union calls for Government intervention
The GMB union has called on Government ministers to delay the possible£10.1 billion private equity takeover of health and beauty chain Alliance Boots.

The union has blasted the potential bid in response to the publication of IMF's Global Financial Stability report, which revealed that a large-scale collapse in the private equity industry is increasingly possible.

Private equity group KKR and Boots deputy chairman Stefano Pessina are hoping to acquire the retailer. Terra Firma, the private equity group headed by Guy Hands, and the Wellcome Trust have also confirmed that they are in the early stages of assessing a bid for Alliance Boots.

GMB national secretary Paul Maloney said: 'Patricia Hewitt needs to ask Boots, a major supplier of medicines to the NHS, how the sums add up for the taxpayers, one of Boots largest customers. She also needs to ask how many hundreds of their local pharmacies, which have served local communities for many decades, will be forced to close to pay the interest bills.

'Alistair Darling, alongside ministers from the Treasury, must ask the private equity companies bidding for Boots how they plan to pay the interest payments, which will amount to over half a billion pounds per year, out of Boots' profits of less than that amount. They need to query the extent to which the debt is affordable only because the interest on the debt is tax-deductible.'

The union added that the Government should not stand by while jobs and services to local communities are put at risk by the potential takeover.