Today, Walgreen Co. and Alliance Boots GmbH announced that they had completed the second step of their strategic partnership initiative to form Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. The move finalizes a two-step merger process begun in 2012 aimed at creating the world’s first global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise, the new company maintained.
The new global enterprise combines Walgreens, the largest drug store chain in the United States with Boots, the market leader in European retail pharmacy and Alliance Healthcare, the leading international wholesaler and distributor, Walgreens Boots Alliance stated. It will operate over 12,800 stores in more than 25 countries, the company asserted, with, more than 370,000 employees and 340 pharmaceutical distribution centers serving more than 180,000 pharmacies and other points of care. The merger also unites a portfolio of retail, wholesale, service and product brands that will function within the context of what it said would be the world’s largest pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution network.
Under a reorganization merger agreement approved earlier this week by its shareholders, Walgreens becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Existing shares of Walgreens common stock converted automatically into shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance common stock on a one-for-one basis. Walgreens Boots Alliance common stock will trade on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol WBA.
“The creation of Walgreens Boots Alliance is a crucial milestone for both Walgreens and Alliance Boots, combining iconic brands, complementary geographic footprints, shared values and a heritage of trusted health care services through pharmaceutical wholesaling and community pharmacy care, each dating back more than 100 years,” stated Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO, in announcing the merger completion. “The combination instantly establishes a groundbreaking and game-changing new company that will help people across the world lead healthier and happier lives as we advance our industry and the delivery of retail health, wellbeing and beauty products and services worldwide.”
Plans call for Wasson to retire from his position post-merger and Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of Boots Alliance, to become acting CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance.
“The combined strength, scale and expertise of Walgreens Boots Alliance creates a unique and unparalleled global leader,” Pessina said. “We have forged a worldwide health care champion, which will provide innovative ways to address global health and wellbeing challenges by helping to shape retail pharmacy, health care and pharmaceutical wholesale markets around the world. Becoming global gives us the ability to generate significant and sustainable benefits for local markets and all stakeholders, from consumers and patients, to pharmacists, suppliers, business partners and, of course, our employees.”