Walgreens, the US-based parent company of Boots, could either sell or float the UK retail favourite as the global pharmacy giant faces intense pressure to break up.

Boots sign

Boots was last up for sale in January 2022, but no deal was made

Investors and board members of Walgreens Boots Alliance want executive chair Stefano Pessina and chief executive Rosalind Brewer to refocus the company on its domestic US market, according to This is Money.

Industry experts in the US believe Walgreens should spin off its international operations, citing Boots and other businesses in Europe as a “distraction”.

Pessina, who authored the two deals that brought Boots Alliance and Walgreens together in 2012 and 2014, is understood to be open to splitting the businesses but is in no mood to be rushed into a decision.

Walgreens last put Boots up for sale in January 2022 with a £7bn price tag, but plans were binned that summer after no suitable buyers emerged.

A number of strong candidates did emerge, however, including Asda owners the Issa brothers, private equity firm Apollo and India’s Reliance Industries, and a consortium fronted by CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital.

Apollo and Reliance Industries were reportedly closest to sealing the deal last year, but the offer was still £1bn below the asking price.

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