Walgreen is going global

The largest US drugstore chain makes a deal with the European pharmacy, health and beauty group Alliance Boots.

By Benzinga Jun 19, 2012 11:02AM

By Katey Stapleton, Benzinga


Drugstore chain Walgreen (WAG) announced Tuesday it has entered into a strategic partnership with privately held pharmacy, health and beauty group Alliance Boots, taking its first dip in international waters. Walgreen said the deal will eventually result in the world's first global pharmacy store. Walgreen will spend $6.7 billion in cash and stock to buy a 45% stake in the European company.


The company also reported fiscal third quarter Tuesday morning, with operating cash flow reaching a record $1.9 billion and also announced its largest quarterly dividend in history.


Walgreen and Alliance Boots both have established brand names, which they could evolve and leverage in their respective geographical markets. They are each the largest pharmaceutical retailers in the U.S. and Europe.


Under the terms of the agreement, Walgreen and Alliance Boots will have approximately 11,000 stores in 12 countries, with over 370 distribution centers that service more than 170,000 healthcare businesses. In three years, Walgreen will have the option to purchase the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots.


As the ink dries on the binding agreement, Walgreen continues to dish out the dough. The company was able to increase dividend by 22.2%, which in turn raised quarterly payment to 27.5 cents per share.


Meanwhile, other big-name chains are still capitalizing on Walgreen's dispute with Express Scripts (ESRX). CVS Caremark (CVS) and Rite Aid (RAD) enjoyed healthy entries into the summer months, with Rite Aid bringing in higher same-store sales throughout the month of May.


While Walgreen attempts to carry on building up its colossal brand with its new partnership, WAG shares are down 5.8% in morning trading to $30.10.


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