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US: Walgreens says merger will not reduce competition

 |  January 29, 2015

Walgreens Boots Alliance said Wednesday its $17.2 billion takeover of Rite Aid would not diminish competition because of the growing importance of mail-order sales and other rivals to retail pharmacies.

Walgreens Boots chief executive Stefano Pessina highlighted this type of competition in remarks that appeared to foreshadow the company’s potential arguments to US antitrust regulators. Big-box chains like Wal-Mart and supermarkets have become big players in selling prescription drugs.

“Think of the mail-order, think of the people in specialized,” Pessina said in an earnings conference call.

“We are in an environment where there is a lot of competition,” Pessina said. “And the fact that we put together two companies will not reduce the competition.”

The merger, announced after markets closed Tuesday, would create a strong rival to market leader CVS Health, combining Walgreens Boots’s 13,100 stores in a dozen countries with Rite Aid’s 4,600 stores in the US.

Full content: KPBS

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