Walgreens has exercised its option to complete the second step of its strategic transaction with Alliance Boots GmbH ahead of the original option period, which was between February and August 2015. The transaction, subject to shareholder and various regulatory approvals, would fully combine the two companies to form the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.
According to Walgreens, the action follows the long-term strategic partnership formed in June 2012, when Walgreens acquired a 45% equity ownership in Alliance Boots, with the option to proceed to a full combination by acquiring the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots in three years’ time.
Walgreens expects to close the transaction in the first quarter of calendar 2015.
Related to moving forward with this next step, a new a new holding company to be formed—Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., and will include four divisions: Walgreen Co. (the largest drugstore chain in the United States); Boots (the U.K. and Republic of Ireland’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer); Pharmaceutical Wholesale and International Retail (including Alliance Healthcare, Europe’s largest pharmaceutical wholesaler); and Global Brands.
In addition, the combined company is establishing a cross-divisional global pharmacy market access group.
Upon closing, the combined enterprise will blend senior management from both companies including Walgreens president, CEO and board member Greg Wasson who will be president and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of Alliance Boots, who will be executive vice chairman of the combined company responsible for strategy and M&A reporting to Wasson, and chairman of a new strategy committee of the board of directors.
The Walgreens Boots Alliance holding company will be headquartered in the Chicago area, while Walgreens operations will remain headquartered in Deerfield, IL. Boots operations also will remain headquartered at its current location in Nottingham, U.K.
The company is outlining a new three-year “Next Chapter” plan through fiscal 2017 that sets strategic goals for the combined company. The plan reflects significant value-creating opportunities for the combined enterprise to drive long-term shareholder value.
Goals include accelerated cost reduction initiatives that target $1 billion in savings by the end of fiscal 2017 to establish an efficient global enterprise.
Walgreens board of directors also authorized a new capital allocation policy that includes a $3 billion share repurchase program through the end of fiscal 2016. In addition, the board declared a 7.1 percent quarterly dividend increase to 33.75 cents per share.
In personnel moves related to HAPPI’s markets, Ken Murphy, managing director, Health & Beauty International and Brands of Alliance Boots, will serve as executive vice president of Walgreens Boots Alliance and president of global brands.