Rumoured frontrunner to buy Boots walks away over 'price expectations'
A consortium that was expected to make a takeover bid for Boots UK did not submit an offer by the February 28 deadline, Sky News has reported.
Bain and CVC Capital had teamed up to make an offer for the multiple, and were considered an early frontrunner in sales talks due to CVC partner Dominic Murphy’s position on the board of parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance.
However, “city sources” told Sky that the consortium walked away in a decision that was “largely down to the price expectations” set by WBA.
Estimates of its sales price have varied considerably, with some reporting that it could go for as much as £10bn. However, other industry commentators have suggested a figure somewhere between £6bn and £7bn is more realistic.
The withdrawal of the Bain/CVC offer leaves a handful of bidders still at the table, with confirmed non-binding bids submitted by US buyout group Apollo and Asda’s owners, TDR capital and brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa.
Others, such as the New York-based Sycamore Partners, are thought to have expressed an interest but it is not known whether formal bids have been submitted.
The Financial Times has reported that Asda has submitted two separate offers, one in which the buyout is led by the supermarket chain and another in which it would be managed by its owners.
A source told the FT that the process is “up in the air” due to potential bidders not receiving sufficient information to carry out due diligence.
Sky has reported that the private equity firms considering tabling a bid were informed by WBA that any new owner would assume liability for Boots £8bn pension scheme, one of the largest private retirement funds of any UK company.
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