High borrowing costs could prevent Boots sale

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High borrowing costs could prevent Boots sale

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s hopes of selling off Boots UK may be hanging in the balance as market forces deter potential buyers, the Times has reported.

The paper reported yesterday that borrowing costs have risen due to inflation, higher interest rates and the war in Ukraine, with retail businesses particularly vulnerable because of a decline in consumer spending.

It has been reported that Asda owners the Issa brothers, who previously abandoned their bid over WBA’s price expectations, are still considering making an offer but have struggled to raise finance.  

A source close to the Issa brothers told the paper: “It’s looking tough. The debt markets are closed.”   

A recent binding offer from Apollo and Reliance Industries was pegged at around £1.5bn less than WBA’s £7bn asking price, although the US parent company could keep a stake.

WBA is expected to issue an update on sales talks when it publishes its quarterly financial results on June 30. It had previously said that in the absence of an attractive bid it planned to make a public listing, but market disruption makes this less likely in the near future.

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