Is Walgreens Sale Of U.K. Boots Pharmacies Finally Near?

Walgreens Boots Alliance sale of its Boots pharmacies in the United Kingdom is apparently near if the latest media reports out of London and India are correct.

The Economic Times reported last week that a “binding bid could come in as early as (last) Friday” for Boots from Apollo Global Management and Reliance Industries, which is owned by Indian industrialist and billionaire Mukesh Ambani. The report follows other media speculation that Walgreens in May gave prospective bidders more time to make their offers for the Boots chain, which has more than 2,000 pharmacies.

Meanwhile, Walgreens executives at their headquarters in the northern Chicago suburb of Deerfield have publicly been quiet about the fate of Boots while the drugstore giant focuses spending billions of dollars on its U.S. operations. There was no announcement last Friday confirming the Apollo-Reliance effort.

Walgreens is spending billions of dollars on its U.S. drugstore operations at the direction of chief executive officer Roz Brewer, who took over as CEO last year. Walgreens has invested more than $6 billion in primary care developer VillageMD to escalate the expansion of doctor-staffed clinics across the U.S. under a new “Walgreens Health” business.

In April, Brewer told analysts and investors Walgreens was opening a new VillageMD clinic attached to a drugstore “every three days.”

The larger investment Walgreens made last year was designed to accelerate the opening of at least 600 Village Medical at Walgreens primary care practices in more than 30 U.S. markets by 2025 and 1,000 by 2027, with more than half of those practices in medically underserved communities, the company has said.