According to two people familiar with the situation, a consortium led by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and buyout company Apollo Global Management Inc. has emerged as the leading contender to buy Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s Boots pharmacies segment in the UK.
According to the persons, the consortium has valued the assets in the area of $7-8 billion, without disclosing the actual proposal. Walgreens, situated in a Chicago suburb, put its Boots company on the market in December, seeking a $8.8 billion valuation. More than 2,200 Boots pharmacies are located in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Thailand, and Indonesia, according to the US pharmacy company.
If Walgreens accepts the Mukesh Ambani-led company’s offer, it will be India’s most valuable company’s largest cross-border acquisition.
RIL’s presence in the healthcare industry would be significantly expanded if it were to acquire Boots. In 2020, the company paid 620 crore for a 60 percent share in Chennai-based online pharmacy startup Netmeds. According to one of the sources mentioned above, RIL is likely to be named the winning bidder soon. According to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Walgreens may keep a share in the company after the merger.
“RIL-Apollo Global appears to be the most likely winner of the binding bidding round.” The deadline for shortlisting bidders was May 31, but things were a little behind schedule. The successful bidder’s name will be announced soon “explained the individual.
Walgreens Boots representative declined to comment. Apollo Global’s spokeswoman did not respond to emails seeking comment.
“As a principle, we do not comment on media speculation and hearsay,” a RIL representative stated. Our firm analyses new opportunities on a regular basis.”
According to the people, a consortium led by British billionaire brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, co-founders of Euro Garages (the owner of a chain of petrol filling stations), and the majority shareholders in supermarket group Asda (held through a consortium with TDR Capital), withdrew from the race after failing to agree on the valuation.
RIL has been on an acquisition binge over the last year, with the goal of bolstering its position in a variety of sectors and regions. It barely lost a controlling position in T-Mobile Netherlands BV, the country’s largest telecom provider, to a group of private equity investors led by Apax Partners LLC and Warburg Pincus LLC last year. The buyout firms paid €5.1 billion ($6 billion) to Deutsche Telekom AG for the Dutch telecom company.
In addition, RIL has undertaken a number of acquisitions in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Purchases of majority holdings in Karexpert and C-Square are among them. RIL’s digital subsidiary, Jio Platforms, is integrating its brick-and-mortar network to offer a suite of services that may be monetized through transaction-based services, delivery, and subscriptions.