Walgreens is set to pay £1bn to hand over responsibility for Boots’ pension scheme, according to a report by The Sunday Times.
It is believed to be offloading the scheme as a precursor to restarting a sales process for the British health, beauty and pharmaceutical chain.
The pension sale would dissolve the guarantee Walgreens has given to the Boots pension scheme, which had previously deterred private equity firms from buying the business.
Last week, The Times reported that Walgreens was closing on a deal to hand over responsibility for Boots’ £4.5bn defined benefit pension scheme to Legal & General.
The group had been negotiating a pension risk transfer deal with L&G for some time, The Times said, in an effort to restart the sale of the 1,900-branch retailer.
The American chain had shelved plans to sell Boots in June last year amid “unexpected and dramatic” changes in market conditions.
Walgreens had hoped to raise as much as £7bn from the sale but offers were believed to be closer to £5.5bn. The groups eyeing Boots included private equity firm Apollo Global Management and TDR Capital, which holds a stake in supermarket chain Asda.