Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina has insisted there will not be job cuts as a result of the merger with US pharmaceuticals giant Walgreens.
Pessina said due to the different regions of the world the two businesses operate in there will be no need for jobs cuts. Instead, said Pessina, more staff will potentially be needed in order to cope with the manufacturing expansion of Alliance Boots products - Walgreens has 8,000 pharmacies in which Boots products will now be sold.
Pessina became angry when asked if the deal means the end of the Boots brand.
He said: “How can you ask this question? I would never do a deal to kill Boots, I’ve done it to make it more visible, more international. Boots will thrive.”
Walgreens president and chief executive Gregory Wasson said: “We both respect the heritage and power of both the brands. It is a partnership, not a take over.”
Walgreens will initially invest $6.7bn in cash and stock to acquire 45% equity in Alliance Boots with a view to merge within three years. The first part of the deal is scheduled to be completed by September 1.
Pessina said the partnership gives him the possibility to make his “dream come true”, after working towards creating a global brand for the past 10 years.
Pessina will take an 8% stake in Walgreens through shares.
Wasson said he and Pessina had struck up a good working relationship over the past few years.
Wasson added: “There is a real cultural fit between two iconic brands. Our folks work together well and we felt now is the time to bring them together to create something that’s new and innovative and offering unique healthcare solutions, providing better access to healthcare.”
Wasson said the first step will be to create synergies between the brand and then over the next three years there will be an integration process. The two companies will sell their products in each other’s retail divisions, which will see Boots own products such as No7 being sold in Walgreens stores.
The two companies will look to expand their presence in existing and emerging markets, which Pessina is tasked with. Alliance Boots already has a presence in China, Turkey and North Africa and Pessina said it will look towards launching in Latin America.