Lloyds Pharmacy owner Celesio will remain an independent company after US drugs wholesaler McKesson failed to meet shareholder demands to buy the group.

The bid fell apart after McKesson failed to reach the 75% acceptance threshold among Celesio shareholders required for the acquisition to press ahead.

This comes despite McKesson upping its offer Thursday.

It means that Haniel, the Duisburg-based family-owned company, will remain the largest Celesio shareholder.

McKesson had been battling it out for the pharmacy retailer and wholesaler in a $8.6bn bid against activist hedge fund Elliott Associates.

Celesio chief financial officer Marion Helmes said: “We regret that this strategically sound transaction has not gone ahead. A combination of Celesio and McKesson would have created a globally leading provider of healthcare services and would have brought benefits for pharmacies, manufacturers, patients and other customers as well as our employees.

“Independently of these plans we have been reorienting our business over recent years and have a strong and competitive position as an independent company. We have a successful strategy of expanding the pharmacy network and central purchasing activities and of optimising the supply chain, so we will continue consistently along this path.”

A takeover by McKesson would have created one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical suppliers and speeded up consolidation of the drugs distribution market. It comes after Alliance Boots partnered with US drugstore giant Walgreens in 2012.