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Walgreens Boots considers going private: media reports

Reuters said there have been preliminary talks with private equity firms to organise what would be the biggest ever leveraged buyout

Walgreens Boots Alliance sign
The company has a market value of over US$55bn

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) shares were higher in pre-market trading after Reuters reported the group is considering going private.

The company, which has a market value of over US$55bn, owns the second-largest pharmacy stores chain in the US and the largest in the UK.

READ: Walgreens and Rite Aid join CVS Health in discontinuing sales of popular heartburn drug Zantac

In an exclusive report, the newswire said there have been preliminary talks with private equity firms to organise what would be the biggest-ever leveraged buyout, with investment bank Evercore Partners asked to assess whether a transaction can be put together.

Such a move would need to involve several private equity firms, at a time when there is less enthusiasm for the so-called club deals following the 2008 financial crisis.

Chief executive Stefano Pessina, the company’s largest shareholder with a 16% stake, may help finance the buyout, while the board has been considering selling assets – such as the 27% stake in drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE:ABC) – to raise funds.

In full-year results published last month, Walgreen reported a 21% plunge in net earnings to US$4bn and predicted “roughly” flat growth in 2020, due to a challenging operating environment.

Walgreen shares were up 1.8% to US$62.10 in pre-market trading on Wednesday.

Quick facts: Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc

Price: 40.93 USD

NASDAQ:WBA
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $35.47 billion
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