Walgreens shelves plans for Boots IPO as sale talks continue

Walgreens shelves plans for Boots IPO as sale talks continue


By

Bloomberg

Published



Jun 11, 2024

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc has shelved plans for a potential initial public offering of its UK drugstore chain Boots, people with knowledge of the matter said, dashing hopes for a blockbuster listing to revive the fortunes of the London stock market.

Photo: Sandra Halliday

The Deerfield, Illinois-based company is now exploring other options for Boots, according to the people. In recent weeks, Walgreens has continued its informal talks with potential buyers of the business including private equity firms, some of the people said.

Bloomberg News reported last month that Walgreens had reached out to potential buyers of Boots, which could be valued at around £7 billion ($8.9 billion) in any deal.

An IPO of Boots in London would have provided a vital boost to the UK capital’s status as a listing destination, which has been on the wane. London’s share of the broader European IPO market is at the level lowest in decades.

Deliberations are ongoing and Walgreens has made no final decisions on its future ownership of Boots, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

“Walgreens Boots Alliance is conducting a strategic review of our assets to drive sustainable long-term shareholder value. All options are on the table,” a spokesperson for Walgreens said in response to to a Bloomberg query.

Shares in Walgreens were largely unchanged in New York trading on Friday, giving the company a market value of about $13.8 billion. The stock has lost roughly half its value over the last 12 months.

Walgreens revived discussions on a potential exit from Boots last year, almost 18 months after scrapping a planned sale. A sale would undo a blockbuster trans-Atlantic merger that took place in stages beginning more than a decade ago.

Boots has previously attracted interest from billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd, as well as private equity firms TDR Capital and Apollo Global Management Inc.



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