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Walgreens Buys Alliance Boots, Becomes Global Pharmacy

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Walgreens, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, says it has completed its purchase of European health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots to become the world's first global health and wellbeing enterprise.

A new entity, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., will begin trading over the Nasdaq exchange with the ticker symbol "WBA," the company said.

The deal, which has been in the works since 2012 when Walgreen bought a 45 percent stake in Alliance Boots, which operates the United Kingdom's biggest pharmacy chain, creates a retail pharmacy network spanning the United States and Europe as well as key markets in Latin America and Asia.

The globe-spanning enterprise consists of Walgreens, the U.S.A.'s largest drugstore chain; Boots, Europe's retail pharmacy market leader; and Alliance Healthcare, a leading international distributor and wholesaler.

The combined Walgreens Boots Alliance now has more than 12,800 stores in 25 countries, employing more than 370,000 people.

"Becoming global gives us the ability to generate significant and sustainable benefits for local markets and all stakeholders, from consumers and patients, to pharmacists, suppliers, business partners and, of course, our employees," says Stefano Pessina, acting CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Walgreens is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. under the agreement approved earlier in the week by Walgreens shareholders.

Walgreens Boots Alliance will consist of three divisions: Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale.

The combined company will be headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois.

Earlier this year Walgreens Boots was in the public eye after announcing it was considering moving its headquarters out of the U.S. as a tax-saving measure.

Such a move, known as an inversion, would have been possible under its announced intention to purchase the rest of the British Boots chain.

However, in August the company said it has chosen to stay put and that inversion was "not the right course of action."

Walgreens shares closed Tuesday at $76.05, and have climbed 32 percent in the past year.

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