Boots’ bidders given until May 16 to submit final bids
Walgreens Boots Alliance has reportedly given parties interested in buying the pharmacy chain Boots until May 16 to submit their final bids.
Sky News today revealed Goldman Sachs, which is advising WBA on the sale, informed bidders about the deadline in an attempt to wrap up a deal as soon as possible amid concerns that the pharmacy chain’s value is depreciating.
Sky cited a price tag of £5 billion although WBA has reportedly valued Boots at £7 billion, a sum that scared off the CVC-Bain consortium which was reportedly unwilling to go over £4bn.
Others interested in buying Boots include the billionaire Issa brothers who own Asda and the US investment management firm Apollo Global Management.
While WBA has not commented on any speculation, a number of factors are said to be making a sale difficult to achieve, such as the impact of the war in Ukraine on bidders’ ability to raise debt financing and Boots’ £8bn pension scheme, which could leave a new owner with huge pension liabilities.
Nonetheless, WBA chairman Stefano Pessina is thought to be keen to secure a sale. Another option recently explored by the American company involves retaining a maximum 30 per cent stake in Boots to help push a deal through, given any problems bidders might have raising finance.
This would see Ornella Barra, WBA’s chief operating officer who has been leading presentations on a sale to potential suitors, take a seat on the new owner’s board.