Walgreens Boots Alliance is exploring the possibility of selling or spinning off one of the United Kingdom’s largest and best known pharmacy chains, Boots, Sky News is reporting.
A spokesman for the Deerfield-based international pharmacy behemoth said in a statement that the company “does not comment on market speculation.” But the London-based news outlet, citing sources, says the company has asked Goldman Sachs to advise it on a sale or spinning off the Boots pharmacies under its umbrella into a new company.
It comes less than a decade after the 2014 multibillion-dollar merger of Walgreen Co. and Alliance Boots.
Walgreens has been cutting costs in some corners while spending in others to get more customers into its bricks-and-mortar stores as the company contends with rapid changes in health care and its drugstore operations face steep competition from the likes of CVS Health and Amazon.
In October Walgreens announced it planned to invest $5.2 billion in Chicago-based VillageMD, which provides primary care to patients. The aim, the company said, was to increase the number of Village Medical clinics in its stores to 1,000 by 2027. The investment gives Walgreens a majority ownership stake — 63% — in VillageMD.
Boots has 2,200 stores in the U.K. and 55,000 employees, Sky News reports. Meantime, Walgreens has just under 9,000 stores in the U.S., according to the company website.