US owner abandons plan to sell Boots

Boots will remain under the ownership of Walgreens Boots Alliance after opportunities to sell the UK health and beauty retailer were hit by financial market turmoil.

The US pharmacy group had been looking to sell Boots and its No7 Beauty brand since the end of last year, with a formal review of its options launched in January.

Several potential buyers came forward, including India’s Reliance Industries and US private equity investor Apollo Global Management, which made a joint £5bn bid. There was also interest from the owners of Asda, brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, although this never led to a formal bid, the Guardian reports. A separate approach by US firms CVC and Bain Capital was also dropped.

Walgreens said this week that with market instability impacting the availability of financing, third parties were struggling to borrow enough money. As a result, the company has decided to keep hold of the business.

This outcome reflects “rapidly evolving and challenging financial market conditions beyond our control,” said Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer.

“The board and I remain confident that Boots and No7 Beauty Company hold strong fundamental value, and longer term, we will stay open to all opportunities to maximise shareholder value for these businesses and across our company,” Brewer added.

Walgreens acquired full control of Boots in 2014.