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US: Antitrust lawmaker said Walgreens’ plan to buy Rite Aid ‘raises serious issues’

 |  January 29, 2015

Two influential US senators called for close scrutiny of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc’s plan to buy Rite Aid Corp. for $9.4 billion, a deal that would unite two of the three biggest US drugstore chains.

Walgreens Chief Executive Stefano Pessina said the company had analyzed the antitrust aspect of the deal but would not speculate on the number of drugstores it might need to divest in order to win regulatory approval.

Walgreens ranks first and Rite Aid third by number of stores, either side of CVS Health Corp.

The top two antitrust lawmakers in the US Senate on Wednesday urged antitrust enforcers to give the plan careful scrutiny because of the importance of healthcare in the US economy.

“I have fought tirelessly to promote competition in the health sector and I believe the proposed merger of two of the three largest drug store chains in the country raises serious issues,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, said in a statement.

The subcommittee’s chair, Republican Senator Mike Lee, said he hoped antitrust agencies would “closely scrutinize” the deal.

Full content: Bloomberg

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