Goldman Sachs, advisers of Boots’ owner Walgreens Boots Alliance, has told suitors of the pharmacy chain that it has until Mid-May to put in bids.
Sky News reported that Asda, which is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and TDR Capital, and Apollo Global Management are among those expected to lodge final offers.
Bidders of the national chemist face hurdles including how to overcome difficult financing markets, as well as finding an adequate solution for Boots’ £8bn pension scheme – one of the largest private retirement funds in the UK.
It comes as Boots has slashed 4000 jobs in 2020 as a result of a restructuring of its Nottingham head office and store management teams amid the pandemic.
Sky News reported: “For Stefano Pessina, the WBA chairman, a decision to sell Boots would mark the final chapter of his involvement with one of Britain’s best-known companies.
“The Italian octogenarian engineered the merger of Boots and Alliance Unichem, a drug wholesaler, in 2006, with the buyout firm KKR acquiring the combined group in an £11bn deal the following year.”