Walgreens Boots Alliance is considering options for its Boots business, including a sale that could bring a price tag of £5bn or more.

US giant Walgreens Boots Alliance is likely to draft in Goldman Sachs, to advise on options, which may include floating Boots separately, Sky News reported.

The potential sale of Boots comes in the wake of increased private equity interest in retail, including the acquisitions of grocers Asda and Morrisons by private owners.

A sale of Boots would likely prompt intense scrutiny amid political concerns about the benefits of private equity ownership, particularly of companies where there are seen to be questions of wider national interest, as is the case in healthcare with Boots.

In its most recent update, Walgreens reported that Boots UK like-for-like pharmacy sales advanced 11.4% year on year, which it said reflected higher demand for pharmacy services - Covid-19 tests in particular.

In recent years Boots, under the leadership of chief executive Sebastian James, has been adjusting to chnaged market conditions and has, for instance, cut 4,000 jobs and identified 200 branches for closure. 

In response to Sky, Walgreens Boots Alliance 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.”





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