Walgreens Boots Alliance has agreed to a $192.5 million settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by investors in Rite Aid who alleged that Walgreens had misled them in 2017 concerning the scrutiny surrounding the proposed merger of the two drugstore giants, per Reuters.
The agreement, which was submitted to Pennsylvania federal court on Wednesday, is contingent upon approval by District Judge Jennifer Wilson.
The lawsuit, which centered on statements made by Walgreens and its executives about the intended merger of the two prominent U.S. pharmacy chains, first announced in 2015, was described by David Knotts, an attorney for the shareholders, as an “intensely fought” case. “We’re very pleased with the result and look forward to the court’s review,” Knotts commented.
The lawsuit specifically accused Walgreens of minimizing the attention from U.S. antitrust regulators, a practice that allegedly commenced in October 2016. Ultimately, in June 2017, Walgreens abandoned the takeover plan after failing to secure approval from the Federal Trade Commission. Instead, they opted to purchase roughly 42% of Rite Aid’s existing stores for $4.38 billion that same year.
This settlement comes at a time when Rite Aid is grappling with bankruptcy protection due to substantial debt and costs stemming from opioid litigation.