Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is giving bidders more time to lodge final offers for its international drugstore arm, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The company plans to allow suitors a few extra days to firm up their bids, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Walgreens had initially requested binding offers by May 16 for the business, which includes the Boots chain in the UK, but is now expected to receive proposals later in the week, the people said.
The battle for Boots, one of the most well-known names on the British high street, is set to be a litmus test for dealmaking in the country as credit markets become more fragile. Walgreens has been seeking £7 billion ($8.5 billion) for the business, which includes more than 2,200 UK stores as well as operations in a smattering of other countries and private-label brands like No7 Beauty Co.
Britain’s billionaire Issa brothers have teamed up with TDR Capital in the bidding, while Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. has partnered with Apollo Global Management Inc., people with knowledge of the matter have said. The sale has also attracted interest from retail-focused private equity firm Sycamore Partners, Bloomberg News has reported.
A representative for Walgreens declined to comment.
By Ruth David, Dinesh Nair and Baiju Kalesh
Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. and US buyout firm Apollo Global Management are planning a joint bid for UK high street pharmacy chain Boots, a spokesperson for Apollo confirmed.