Walgreens Undertakes Strategic Review of Boots Alliance

Pharmacy retailer Walgreens has begun a strategic review of its Boots business.

The news was reported during a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, with CEO Roz Brewer confirming the company is weighing its options with U.K.-based Boots.

"This review is very much in line with our renewed priorities and strategic direction,” Brewer said at the conference. “In particular, our increased focus on U.S. healthcare. While the process is at an exploratory stage, we do expect to move quickly.”

The review comes as Walgreens has stepped up its role in U.S. healthcare and focused its competition with CVS Health. The retailer administered roughly 55 million COVID-19 vaccines and more than 22 million COVID-19 tests in the U.S. as of mid-December 2021. Walgreens operates more than 9,000 stores in the U.S. Boots operates 2,200 stores.

Rumors have swirled since last year that Walgreens could be considering a sale of Boots. British reports suggest Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners are preparing a bid for the U.K. pharmacy chain. Brewer did not state whether the review would result in a sale of the business during the presentation, CNBC reported. 

The company has also ramped up its financial services, including recently introducing a bank account to Walgreens customers established at Metabank with a Mastercard debit card that shoppers can use in-store or online.