The American owner of Boots, Walgreens Boots Alliance, has reportedly scrapped plans for a potential IPO of the UK beauty retailer as sale talks around the business continue.

Boots over-store sign

Sources with an understanding of the situation told Bloomberg that WBA is exploring “other options” for Boots including continued talks with potential buyers.

Private equity firms are understood to be among those having “informal talks” about the sale.

While talks are ongoing, Walgreens has not yet made any final decisions on its future ownership of Boots.

This comes as WBA reportedly ramped up efforts to find a buyer last month and was “reaching out to potential buyers” at the time.

A deal for Boots is expected to attract a price tag of as much as £7bn.

Earlier this year, WBA chief executive Tim Wentworth, who took up the role in October, said he was “evaluating all strategic options [to] drive sustainable long-term shareholder value”.

Speculation around a potential Boots IPO emerged in late 2023 after it offloaded its £4.8bn pension scheme liabilities.

This was seen as WBA removing an obstacle towards a potential sale of the business.