Walgreens announced Tuesday that it would pay $6.7 billion for a 45 percent stake in Alliance Boots, making for a strategic partnership between the country’s largest drug store chain and a privately held pharmacy and beauty company with a sizeable presence in Europe.
In a statement, Walgreens cited the companies’ “complementary geographic footprints” as one of the reasons for executing the deal. Indeed, the company’s portfolios seem to have little overlap. Walgreens is practically ubiquitous in the United States, with nearly 8,000 outlets nationwide and annual sales totalling $72 billion in 2011. On its Web site, Alliance Boots says that it operates 3,330 stores in 11 countries. In addition to its retail stores, Alliance Boots’s portfolio includes a pharmaceutical wholesale business and several brands of beauty products.