Private-equity firm interested in Walgreens’ U.K. drugstore chain

U.S. private-equity firm Bain Capital approached Walgreens Boots Alliance about buying its U.K. drugstore chain Boots

Walgreens Boots Alliance

(Bloomberg) — U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital recently approached Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. about a potential purchase of its U.K. drugstore chain Boots, the Times of London reported, without saying where it got the information. 

Bain is positioning itself as a front-runner for an upcoming auction of the unit, the newspaper said. Boots only owns about a quarter of its stores and may be worth 6 billion pounds ($8.1 billion) to 7 billion pounds, according to the report.

A Bain Capital spokesperson declined to comment to the newspaper on the approach, reportedly made more than two months ago. Walgreens and Boots representatives didn’t immediately return Bloomberg News’ request for comment outside normal business hours.

Deerfield-based Walgreens lined up Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise it on a review of options for Boots, including a possible sale, Bloomberg News reportedin December. 

The firm has been moving into other health-care businesses recently, as online retailers become more competitive in the drugstore industry.

Private equity firms including CVC Capital Partners, Carlyle Group Inc., KKR & Co., Advent International, and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice may also be exploring an offer, the Times said. Supermarket groups may also be interested, according to the report.

Representatives for the firms didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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