THE WHAT? Walgreens is set to pay £1 billion to offload the Boots pension scheme, a move reported by The Sunday Times. This step is part of their plan to facilitate the sale of the Boots chain, which specialises in health, beauty, and pharmaceuticals in the UK.
THE DETAILS The decision to pay off the pension scheme is aimed at removing a financial commitment that has been a barrier to selling Boots. According to reports, Walgreens is close to finalising a deal with Legal & General to transfer Boots’ £4.5 billion defined benefit pension scheme. This move comes after Walgreens had to halt the sale of Boots last year due to changing market conditions. They had initially expected to sell for about £7 billion but received lower offers, around £5.5 billion.
THE WHY? Walgreens’ decision to pay off the pension scheme and renew efforts to sell Boots is driven by a need to adapt to the challenging market conditions that hindered the sale last year. By resolving the pension scheme issue, Walgreens aims to make Boots more appealing to potential buyers, including major equity firms, and seek a better sale price. This strategy is a part of Walgreens’ wider business reorientation efforts.