Walgreens will use its $9.41 billion takeover of rival Rite Aid to spread its philosophy on making drugstores destinations for customers looking to stay healthy or buy beauty products. No announcemnts have been made as yet regarding how Walgreen's might consolidate stores
The nation's largest drugstore chain also is expected to flex its beefed-up negotiating muscle to twist better deals from drugmakers and other suppliers. But experts say those discounts won't automatically trickle down to consumers. Walgreens agreed to pay $9 a share in cash for Rite Aid, offering a 48% premium to Rite Aid’s closing price Monday.
Rite Aid’s stock rose 43% to $8.67 on Tuesday after The Wall Street Journal reported on the merger talks. Walgreens shares rose 6.4% Tuesday to $95.16. It also adds to a blockbuster year for health-care mergers and acquisitions, helping to put 2015 on track to be the busiest year ever for M&A. Including assumed debt, the transaction is valued at $17.2 billion. Rite Aid’s debt totaled $7.4 billion in August.
Drug makers, hospital chains, health insurers and others have already struck some $427 billion of merger deals in the U.S. this year, according to Dealogic, as the Affordable Care Act and other factors spur them to seek more leverage with their suppliers and cut costs. By combining their drugstore networks, which together include roughly 13,000 U.S. stores, Walgreens and Rite Aid, which have both been pinched by drug-price inflation, could reap considerable savings.
Rite Aid, based in Camp Hill, Pa., has about 4,600 drugstores in 31 states. Walgreens has roughly 8,200 U.S. stores, while CVS Health Corp. has more than 7,800.
It is not clear at this time what this will mean for Warrenton's Rite Aid but the announcement indicated that some of those stores would be closed under the consolidation.