American drug retailing chain Walgreens has announced plans to acquire 55% stake in Europe’s biggest pharmacy chain Alliance Boots for nearly $5.3bn.
In 2012, Walgreens bought 45% stake in Alliance Boots. With this acquisition, Walgreens will have complete 100% stake in the company.
The firm said it would not use the deal to alter its current tax structure, and expects the merged company to be based in Chicago. Boots’ base will continue to be at Nottingham.
Walgreens’ announcement came immediately after the news broke of Obama administration reviewing its options to stop companies from moving their tax base abroad.
Alliance Boots, a multinational pharmacy-led health and beauty group, has 2,487 retail stores across the UK.
It employs more than 60,000 people in the UK, including more than 6,500 pharmacists.
Speaking about the acquisition, Walgreens chief executive Greg Wasson said: "We are excited to move forward with the next important step in becoming a new kind of global health care leader.
Walgreens is seeking to make cost reductions of $1bn over next three years at corporate, field and store-level across all of its businesses.
Separately, the retailer also has plans to invest in its core businesses to revive growth.
Presently, Walgreens has 8,231 shops across all 50 US states and the federal District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands.