Walgreens Considering Sale of Boots Alliance

Boots store

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is working with Goldman Sachs on a possible sale of 172-year-old U.K. health and beauty retailer Boots, according to a Sky News report.

The process remains in the “exploratory” stage, the report says, meaning a sale is far from a sure thing. Another option could be making Boots a separate public company, sources told the news outlet.

Boots has about 55,000 employees across its 2,200 stores in Britain. Walgreens Boots Alliance sold its European distribution business, Alliance Healthcare, for $6.5 billion earlier this year. It’s unclear what Boots’ price tag would be if a sale comes to fruition.

If it valued Boots at 10 billion pounds ($13.26 billion) or more, that would make this the biggest proposed U.K. retail deal since a 15 billion pound (almost $20 billion) merger of Asda and J Sainsbury was called off in 2019. Asda later sold for 6.8 billion pounds (more than $9 billion) to a group including Asda and Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who own EG Group.

One analyst put Boots’ value at between 10 billion pounds and 12 billion pounds (almost $16 billion), but another one put the value at about half of that range.

Walgreens acquired 45% of Boots Alliance in 2012. The company issued a statement Friday about the proposed sale.

“Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) does not comment on market speculation and Boots is an important part of the group,” according to the company announcement. “However, it is accurate that WBA announced a renewed set of priorities and strategic direction for the group in October, which includes a more pointed focus on North America and on healthcare.”

Related: Walgreens and VillageMD Adding 20 Florida Village Medical Locations

Last month, Walgreens Boots Alliance and VillageMD announced their plans for 20 additional Village Medical at Walgreens primary care practices in the Tampa area, the second major market in Florida for Village Medical at Walgreens, joining the 10 locations in the Orlando area by the end of this year.

Walgreens and VillageMD are slated to open about 1,000 primary care practices by 2027, including more than 80 locations by the end of 2021. In September, Walgreens and VillageMD announced plans for 18 Village Medical at Walgreens locations in the Phoenix area and four more locations by the end of 2021.

Earlier this year, the companies announced that 29 practices would be coming to Houston, Austin and El Paso, Texas.