A raft of private equity firms are readying to enter the auction for high street chemist Boots after its American owner Walgreens Boots Alliance put the chain on the market for £7bn, according to reports today.
Asda backers TDR Capital are among the firms interested in buying Boots, with the synergies between the two retailers understood to appeal to the firm, the Times reported today.
The reports come after a spate of private equity firms were said to be readying bids for the high street stalwart last week.
US buyout giants CVC and Bain Capital are preparing a joint bid for the chain, Sky News first reported, while Advent, KKR, Clayton Dubilier & Rice and Apollo were all considering throwing their hat in the ring to snap up the chain, according to Bloomberg News.
Walgreens Boots Alliance last week confirmed that it was exploring a “strategic review” focused on the chemist chain as it looks to refocus its operation on the North American healthcare market. Bankers at Goldman Sachs were first called in in December to explore a sale of the Boots at a valuation of $10bn, City AM understands.
It is reportedly looking to sell the entire Boots business, with its operations in the UK, Ireland and Thailand, as well as the No7 beauty brand.
The sale of the 172-year-old chemist chain, which operates 2,276 stores the UK, 90 in Ireland and another 253 in Thailand, will break off a key pillar of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which was formed in 2015 when then-chief executive Stefano Pessina snapped up the remaining 55% of the business that his firm did not already own. He first merged the chain with Walgreens in 2005.
Walgreens Boots Alliance said in a statement last week: “We can confirm that Walgreens Boots Alliance, in line with its recently announced priorities and strategic direction that include a greater focus on US healthcare, has announced a strategic review, primarily focused on our successful Boots business, including No7 Beauty Company.
“This strategic review is at an exploratory stage and further announcements will be made in due course, after the right decision has been reached for Boots’ future and for all stakeholders.”