India's Reliance Industries is exploring a bid for drug retailer Walgreens Boots Alliance's UK-based Boots business, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Boots is being sold as part of an auction process led by Goldman Sachs and can be valued at up to £8 billion (€9.63 billion), Reuters reported in February, citing sources.
The Boots business spans across 2,200 stores in the UK, including pharmacies, health and beauty stores, according to the chain's website.
Deliberations were ongoing and there was no certainty Reliance would actually bid for Boots, the Bloomberg report quoted people who asked not to be identified as the information was confidential.
While a spokesperson for Boots declined to comment on the news, Reliance was not available for response late at night in India.
Strategic Review Of Boots
U.S.-based Walgreens said in January it was conducting a strategic review of the Boots business as the second largest U.S. pharmacy chain renews its focus on domestic healthcare.
As its chief executive Rosalind Brewer put it at the time, "While the process is at an exploratory stage, we do expect to move quickly."
Other suitors for Boots include TDR Capital, which owns supermarket chain Asda, a consortium of CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital as well as U.S. investment firm Apollo.
Elsewhere, CD&R, which initially expressed interest in combining Boots with its own supermarket chain Morrisons, had to put its plans on hold after Britain's competition regulator deepened its probe into the Morrisons takeover in January.