Walgreen looks to have its sights set on being more than just America's largest drugstore chain. Like, perhaps, the world's... It today announced that it has acquired a 45% stake in the UK's Alliance Boots at a cost of $6.7 billion in cash and stock, with the option to buy the remaining 55% in about three years. The combined business would be a pretty formidable one, with 11,000 stores in 12 countries, plus 370 distribution centers that supply pharmacies and hospitals, reports Bloomberg.
One British retail expert didn't mince words when describing the impact of the deal: "This is potentially one of the most important moves in European retail history. Walgreen is still a US business ... this gets them into Europe and Asia." It's the biggest deal in Walgreen's history, and the company anticipates that it will add 23 cents to 27 cents per share, excluding transaction costs, to its earnings in the first year after it completes the initial step, notes the AP.