AmerisourceBergen Corporation, the American drug wholesale company, said on Wednesday it would buy Walgreens Boots Alliance’s distribution business, Alliance Healthcare, for $6.5 billion.

Commenting on the deal, Julian Mount, managing director, Alliance Healthcare-UK, said: “Today represents a new and exciting chapter for Alliance Healthcare UK. As part of one of the world’s largest wholesaling companies we can synergistically realise the ambition of Alliance Healthcare UK.

“I am tremendously excited about the opportunity this brings and am sure it will lead to some very near term benefits for UK pharmacy customers, patients and the NHS.”

Under the terms of the deal, AmerisourceBergen will pay WBA $6.27 billion in cash and deliver 2 million shares of AmerisourceBergen common stock at closing of the transaction.

With a 30 per cent stake, Walgreens is the largest shareholder of AmerisourceBergen. The two companies have explored various possibilities for combining operations in recent years, including a sale of AmerisourceBergen to Walgreens, on the theory that their drug distribution businesses would be better positioned to withstand competitive price pressures through even bigger scale.

AmerisourceBergen Corp was formed by the merger of Bergen Brunswig and AmeriSource in 2001.

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