Walgreens Boots Alliance

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Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
Traded as
Industry Pharmaceutical
Founded Chicago, United States (December 31, 2014 (December 31, 2014))
Founders Charles Rudolph Walgreen
Walgreens (1901)
John Boot
Boots (1849)
Headquarters Deerfield, Illinois, United States
Area served
Key people
Jim Skinner
(Executive Chairman)
Stefano Pessina
(Vice Chairman and CEO)
Products Drug store
Revenue Increase US$118.214 billion (2017)[1]
Decrease US$5.557 billion (2017)[1]
Decrease US$4.078 billion (2017)[1]
Total assets Decrease US$66.009 billion (2017)[1]
Total equity Decrease US$28.274 billion (2017)[1]
Number of employees
345,000 (2017)[1]
Divisions Retail Pharmacy USA
Retail Pharmacy International
Pharmaceutical Wholesale
Subsidiaries Alliance Healthcare
Boots UK
Boots Opticians
Duane Reade
Farmacias Benavides
Farmacias Ahumada
Website walgreensbootsalliance.com

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. is an American holding company headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, that owns Walgreens, Boots, and a number of pharmaceutical manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution companies. The company was formed on December 31, 2014, after Walgreens purchased the 55% stake in UK & Switzerland-based Alliance Boots that it did not already own. The total price of the acquisition was $4.9 billion in cash and 144.3 million common shares with fair value of $10.7 billion.[2] Walgreens had previously purchased 45% of the company for $4.0 billion and 83.4 million common shares in August 2012 with an option to purchase the remaining shares within three years.[3] Walgreens became a subsidiary of the newly created company after the transactions were completed.[4]

Under the terms of the merger, the new company was organized into three divisions: Retail Pharmacy USA (Walgreens), Retail Pharmacy International (Boots), and Pharmaceutical Wholesale, incorporating Alliance Healthcare.[5] The new holding company began trading on the NASDAQ on December 31, 2014.[6]

The combined business has operations in over 25 countries. Walgreens had formerly operated solely within the United States and its territories, while Alliance Boots operated a more international business.

In October 2016, Walgreens Boots Alliance published its fourth quarter earnings report.[7] Fiscal year 2016 totaled sales were $117.35 billion, up 13.4% from $103.44 in fiscal 2015, and GAAP net earnings decreased to $4.17 billion.[8]

On June 26, 2018, Walgreens Boots Alliance replaced General Electric on the Dow Jones Industrial Index.[9]


Retail Pharmacy USA[edit]

Walgreens and Duane Reade operate within the Retail Pharmacy USA division of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Both businesses sell prescription and non-prescription drugs, and a range of household items, including personal care and beauty products. Walgreens provides access to consumer goods and services, plus pharmacy, photo studio, health and wellness services in the United States through its retail drugstores. Walgreens had 8,230 drugstores as of December 2015.[10] Walgreens runs several online stores, such as: Beauty.com, Drugstore.com and VisionDirect.com.

Walgreens has stores in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On October 27, 2015, Walgreens announced the purchase of competitor Rite Aid for $17.2 billion.[11] However, that deal was later scrapped due to antitrust concerns in favor of a $5.18 billion deal, in which Walgreens only acquired half of Rite Aid locations.[12]

On September 19, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved a fourth deal agreement to purchase Rite Aid with 1,932 stores for $4.38 billion total.[13]

Retail Pharmacy International[edit]

Boots forms the main part of the Retail Pharmacy International division of the company. The Boots brand has a history stretching back over 160 years and is a familiar sight on Britain's high streets. Stores are located in prominent high street and city center locations as well as in local communities. Most branches include a pharmacy and focus on healthcare, personal care, and cosmetic products, with most stores selling over-the-counter medicines. Larger stores typically offer a variety of healthcare services in addition to dispensing prescriptions, and chlamydia testing & treatment (private service). Optician services are also offered in many larger stores, with Boots Opticians providing eye tests along with the sale of spectacles and contact lenses.

Many stores also feature traditional photo processing and/or a HP picture kiosk where users of digital cameras and camera phones can create prints via Bluetooth, USB, or CD. Larger stores usually offer a range of electrical equipment such as hairdryers, curlers, and foot massagers, while selected stores offer a range of sandwiches, baguettes, wraps, salads, and beverages.

Since 1936, there have been Boots stores outside the UK. Stores in countries as widely spread as New Zealand, Canada (see Pharma Plus), and France were all closed in the 1980s. Today, there are Boots branded stores outside the UK and Ireland in countries including United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Norway, Lithuania, The Netherlands, and Thailand.

The remainder of the division is made up of the pharmacies Benavides in Mexico and Farmacias Ahumada (FASA) in Chile.

Pharmaceutical Wholesale[edit]

Alliance Healthcare forms the main part of Walgreens Boots Alliance's Pharmaceutical Wholesale division. It operates twice daily deliveries to more than 16,000 delivery points in the UK alone.[14] Internationally, Alliance Healthcare supplies medicines, other healthcare products and related services to over 110,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals from over 350 distribution centers in 19 countries.[15] The division's Alphega Pharmacy network provides a range of services for independent pharmacies, including branding, professional training and patient care, retail support services and supply benefits together with pharmacy and IT support.[16]

Product brands[edit]

Boots produces a large number of brands, including No7, Soltan and Botanics, Boots Pharmaceuticals, and Boots Laboratories, that Alliance Boots and Walgreens sought to launch internationally following the first share purchase in 2012.[17] The majority are produced by its subsidiary, BCM Limited, which manufactures both own-brand and third-party medicines, as well as cosmetic ranges including No 7, Kangol, FCUK, Soltan, and Botanics. BCM has facilities in the UK, Germany, and France.[18] BCM Specials manufactures bespoke non-licensed medicines for UK hospital and retail pharmacies.[citation needed]

Launched in 1935, No7 is best known for its anti-aging beauty serums, developed in Nottingham, that first appeared in 2007. The range comprises products designed to target the aging concerns of specific age groups. No7 became available in Walgreens and Duane Reade stores in the USA from November 2012, beginning in Los Angeles.[citation needed]

Launched in 1939, Soltan markets its UVA 5-star protection, a standard of protection developed by Boots and now adopted as the benchmark for suncare products in the UK.[citation needed] Although in both 2004 and 2015, Watchdog, a BBC consumer investigative TV program and cited on BBC News, plus the consumer WHICH? Magazine, each did an investigation finding the 5-star rating was unsubstantiated, and skincare experts declared it to be far less safe than claimed.[19][20][21]

First launched in 1995, the Botanics range, developed in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, uses plant extracts in a variety of products and includes a range of organic products. The Botanics range is also available through third party retailers.[citation needed]

The Boots own brand range of products includes skincare, medicines, healthcare products, and many more. Boots Laboratories skincare range for independent pharmacy customers was launched in France and Portugal in 2008/09and is also sold in Spain, Italy, and Germany.[22]

Boots launched Almus, a brand of generic prescription drugs, in the UK in 2003.[23] It is now sold in five countries and is an umbrella brand for a wide range of lower cost generic medicines. Alliance Boots placed considerable emphasis on the design of the packaging in an attempt to reduce the number of errors by the dispensing chemist and by the patient relating to incorrect dosage which can result in either a dangerous accidental overdose or an equally dangerous under dose.[citation needed]

Walgreens has a self-branded line of products, "Well at Walgreens".[24]

In 2015, Walgreens Boots Alliance paid £140 million (about $250 million) for UK skincare brand Liz Earle Naturally Active, an Avon subsidiary since 2010.[25] Liz Earle Beauty Co co-founder Liz Earle, 'one of the biggest names in the beauty industry'[26] stayed on as an 'ambassador'[27] after selling the company for an undisclosed sum[28] and told her own Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine's website that '...alongside my new digital and print publishing venture...at the moment I’m still connected to Liz Earle Beauty Co and continue to work as a consultant to the brand that carries my name. I’m involved in new product development...'[29] In 2012, Liz Earle announced that she had left the company.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Walgreens Boots Alliance Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 
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  17. ^ "Walgreen Co, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Oct 19, 2012". secdatabase.com. Retrieved May 11, 2018. 
  18. ^ "About BCM". BCM-manufacturing.com. Retrieved 2015-04-13. 
  19. ^ "Health | Tests cast doubt on sunscreens". BBC News. 2004-07-01. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  20. ^ "Sunscreen lotions failing protection tests, says Which? - BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
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  23. ^ "Almus reaches 10 year milestone in the UK - News | Latest news - Alliance Healthcare". www.alliance-healthcare.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-31. 
  24. ^ Staff (June 12, 2015). "Walgreens recalls bottles of women's multivitamins". Pharmaceutical Processing. Associated Press. 
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  27. ^ About us: Our ambassadors, Liz Earle Beauty Co corporate website, Undated.Retrieved: 20 January 2017.
  28. ^ UPDATE 1-Avon buys UK's Liz Earle Beauty in all cash deal, Reuters news agency, 25 March 2010.Retrieved: 20 January 2017.
  29. ^ Q&A with Liz, Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine website, Undated..Retrieved: 20 January 2017.
  30. ^ "Co-founder leaves Liz Earle". 27 April 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 

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