US drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance announced Tuesday it would take over rival Rite Aid to strengthen its position as the country’s second-largest pharmacy network.
Walgreens Boots will pay $9.4 billion in cash for Rite Aid, and after acquired debt is included, the total value of the deal will hit $17.2 billion, it said.
The deal will create a formidable challenger to US market leader CVS Health, though it could also raise questions about ongoing consolidation in the health-care sector.
It will bring Walgreens Boots’s 13,100 stores in a dozen countries, with sales of $76.4 billion in 2014, together with Rite Aid’s 4,600 stores and in the US and $26.5 billion in sales.
The announced deal comes less than a year after Walgreens swallowed up the British pharmacy and cosmetics chain Boots.
“Walgreens Boots Alliance will provide to Rite Aid its global expertise and resources to accelerate the delivery of integrated frontline care, and to offer innovative solutions for providers, payers and other entities in the US healthcare system,” said Walgreens Boots chief executive Stefano Pessina in a statement.
“Our complementary retail pharmacy footprints in the US will create an even better network, with more health and wellness solutions available in stores and online.”