Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid have found a buyer for hundreds of stores so that the former might acquire the latter next year, and it isn’t either of the grocers speculators thought it might be.
The Fred's Inc. drug store chain has bought up 865 Rite Aid locations for $950 million so that Walgreens may appease the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and buyout the banner for about $9.4 billion.
As we reported previously, both Kroger and Albertsons were speculated to be in the running for the several hundred stores for their prospective grocery locations as each looks to expand further.
In the end, however, Walgreens Boots Alliance’s Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Stefano Pessina, said that the company was pleased to find an “experienced pharmacy operator," for the stores sold.
"With this agreement, we are moving ahead with important work necessary to obtain approval of our acquisition of Rite Aid,” said Pessina, according to a press release. “We look forward to continuing to provide our customers and patients with the highest level of care and attention."
In total, Rite Aid has about 4,500 locations (minus those just sold) to add to Walgreens’ current count of 8,137 stores in the U.S.
Walgreens said that it is actively engaged in discussions with the FTC regarding the transaction and working toward a close of the Rite Aid acquisition. Should everything go through, the deal is expected to close in early 2017.