US-based retail holdings company Walgreens Boots Alliance has signed an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to pay a $34.5m fine for misleading investors.
The settlement followed an investigation by the SEC that compared Walgreen’s forward-looking financial goals with related disclosures made prior to its merger with Alliance Boots on 31 December 2014.
The allegations noted that Walgreens’ CEO and chief financial officer at the time acted negligently in connection with statements in the earnings calls made during June, October and December 2013, as well as March 2014.
It is also claimed that the company failed to disclose risks of not meeting certain financial goals for the fiscal year ending 2016. Walgreens withdrew those goals in June 2014 after receiving warnings in December 2013 and March 2014.
The settlement does not involve any of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s current officers or executives, and it does not allege that anyone acted intentionally or recklessly at any time.
Walgreens Boots Alliance operates retail pharmacy chains across the US and Europe. It currently employs more than 385,000 people as of 31 August 2017 across 14,500 stores in 11 countries along with one global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution networks.