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Retail

Albertsons To Buy Rite Aid In Cash-And-Stock Deal

US grocer Albertsons plans to buy drugstore owner Rite Aid in a deal that would accelerate the remaking of the US retail and health-care industries.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons plans to acquire the parts of Rite Aid that are left over after a separate sale of nearly 2,000 stores, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the companies’ chief executive officers.

The cash-and-stock deal would create a company with annual revenue of $83 billion and is expected to close by summer, subject to regulatory approval.

Rite Aid rose 23% before US markets opened on Tuesday.

Albertsons shareholders would own about 71% of the combined company, while Rite Aid investors would hold the rest. The companies have a combined value of around $24 billion, including debt, according to the report.

Pharmacy Market

The deal comes amid a broader reshuffling of the US pharmacy market, with retailers like Walmart seeking to play a bigger role amid the  prospect of online giant Amazon entering the health-supply business.

Rite Aid won approval to sell 1,932 stores, three distribution centres and related assets to Walgreens Boots Alliance for $4.4 billion in September. CVS Health agreed last year to pay $68 billion for health insurer Aetna, while the WSJ recently reported that Walgreens is in early talks to buy drug distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp.

Rite Aid CEO John Standley would serve as chief of the new company, the WSJ reported, while his counterpart at Albertsons, Bob Miller, would be the chairman.

Standley told the newspaper that the combination would help the drugstore operator expand its food offerings to stand out from CVS and Walgreens, as well as boosting e-commerce sales.

Albertsons, which is backed by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, last year put plans for an initial public offering on hold after Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market, according to people familiar with the situation.

The new company, to be based in both Boise and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, would operate about 4,900 stores and 4,300 pharmacies across 38 states and Washington DC, according to the WSJ.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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