The new combined company will be called Walgreens Boots Alliance. Walgreens bought a 45% stake in the company in 2012 and now wants to buy the remaining 55% stake. The board of Walgreens is seeking shareholder approval for the £9b deal to go through.
The firm said it would not use the deal to alter its current tax structure, and expects the merged company to be based in Chicago. Boots will remain at its UK headquarters in Nottingham. The pharmacy chain has 2,487 stores across the country, employing more than 60,000 people in the UK, including more than 6,500 pharmacists. The impact of the buy-out on jobs is not yet clear.
Walgreens has said it will look to make cost reductions of $1b over three years at “corporate, field and store-level” across all of its businesses. However, it will also invest “across core businesses at suitable returns to drive organic growth”.
Walgreens shares dropped 14% in value in early trading on Wednesday, before climbing slightly. Investors had expected the firm to move its headquarters abroad in order to cut its tax bill.
Walgreens’ chief executive Greg Wasson will become chief executive of the new company, and Stefano Pessina, who is currently executive chairman of Alliance Boots, will report to Mr Wasson.