Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and Rite Aid Corporation have entered into an agreement to sell 865 Rite Aid stores and certain assets related to store operations to Fred’s, Inc. for $950 million in an all-cash transaction. The transaction is subject to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approval, the approval and completion of the pending acquisition of Rite Aid by Walgreens Boots Alliance, and other customary closing conditions.
The agreement is being entered into to respond to concerns identified by the FTC in its review of the proposed acquisition of Rite Aid by Walgreens Boots Alliance, which was announced in October 2015. Walgreens Boots Alliance is actively engaged in discussions with the FTC regarding the transaction and is working toward a close of the Rite Aid acquisition in early calendar 2017.
The proposed divestiture transaction, if approved, would establish Fred’s Pharmacy as one of the largest drugstore chains in the United States with significant presence in areas such as the South and on the East and West Coasts. Specific locations of the stores to be divested will be announced upon FTC approval of the Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid merger.
Under the terms of the purchase agreement, Fred’s Pharmacy would acquire 865 Rite Aid stores and certain assets related to store operations, and expects to continue to employ all store associates and certain field and regional associates related to the operations of the acquired stores upon completion of the divestiture. Fred’s Pharmacy would continue to operate the acquired stores under the Rite Aid banner during a transition period. If the FTC requires divestiture of more than the 865 Rite Aid stores currently contemplated by the purchase agreement and Walgreens Boots Alliance agrees to sell such stores, the purchase agreement requires Fred’s to purchase such additional stores.
Walgreens Boots Alliance continues to expect that it will realize synergies from the acquisition of Rite Aid in excess of $1 billion, to be fully realized within three to four years of closing of the merger. These synergies, as previously disclosed, are expected to be derived primarily from procurement, cost savings and other operational matters.
“We are pleased to have found an experienced pharmacy operator for these stores,” said Walgreens Boots Alliance Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina. “With this agreement, we are moving ahead with important work necessary to obtain approval of our acquisition of Rite Aid. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers and patients with the highest level of care and attention.”
“We greatly appreciate the dedication of our Rite Aid associates who are taking great care of our customers and patients during this period,” said Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley. “We look forward to working closely with Fred’s to ensure a smooth, successful transition for our customers, patients and associates in the divested stores.”
BofA Merrill Lynch acted as Walgreens Boots Alliance’s financial adviser, with Sidley Austin LLP acting as its legal counsel on transaction legal matters and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acting as its legal counsel on antitrust regulatory matters.
Citi acted as Rite Aid’s exclusive financial adviser, with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acting as Rite Aid Corporation’s legal counsel on transaction legal matters and Jones Day acting as its legal counsel on antitrust regulatory matters.