Walgreens Boots Alliance, the parent company of Boots UK, has begun a strategic review of its business in the United Kingdom, chief executive officer Rosalind Brewer said on Tuesday (January 11) amid speculations that two private equity companies were teaming up for potential bids to buy the pharmacy chain.
Boots has over 2,200 stores across the UK, which include pharmacies, health and beauty stores, among others, according to the chain’s website.
“This review is very much in line with our renewed priorities and strategic direction. In particular, our increased focus on US healthcare. While the process is at an exploratory stage, we do expect to move quickly,” Brewer said at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.
The review comes at a time when the company, which was formed in 2014 after the acquisition of stake in Alliance Boots by Walgreens, moves beyond its drugstores with its investments in two smaller healthcare providers, CareCentrix and VillageMD.
Late last year, Walgreens also launched its Walgreens Health unit to provide pharmacy and primary care services in stores, at home, or at a doctor’s office and via mobile app. read more
Boots UK comparable pharmacy sales increased 8.8 per cent in the quarter ended November due to increased footfalls.
Sky News first reported that private equity firms — Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners — were working on a joint bid for Boots after its US owner hired advisers in December to explore options for the UK business, including a sale.
Although no formal process had kicked off yet, Bain and CVC believe Boots could be run more profitably as a standalone company than as part of the Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Walgreens lined up Goldman Sachs last year to look at splitting off Boots and either selling it or listing it as a standalone company.
Potential bidders Bain and CVC declined to comment.