Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani closing in on UK retailer Boots?

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani closing in on UK retailer Boots?
Courtesy: Boots-UK.Com

Mukesh Ambani led Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries and the American private equity firm Apollo Global Management have made a £5.5 billion joint bid for UK retail major Boots, according to UK media reports.

The joint bidders emerged as the frontrunners for the health and beauty chain after UK-based Indian-origin entrepreneur brothers – Mohsin and Zuber Issa, threatened to walk away from the process because of a disagreement over the price last month. Under the Ambani-led joint bid, the deal will reportedly see the US parent company of Boots keep a stake of about 30 per cent.

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Sources close to the process were referred to in UK media reports as saying that Reliance and Apollo submitted a proposal to the board of Walgreens Boots Alliance last week that was in line with recent deal multiples, suggesting a price of between £5.5 billion and £6 billion. Under the proposal, Walgreens Boots Alliance will keep a stake of between 30 and 40 per cent in the British business.

The bidders have reportedly already developed a plan to expand Boots into India and Asia, which appealed to Walgreens because it means that by keeping a stake it can benefit from future growth without committing its own financial resources.

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Boots, a popular pharmacy chain in the UK, has more than 2,000 stores across the country and reportedly gets about 45 per cent of its estimated £6 billion in annual revenues from providing services such as prescriptions and vaccinations to the UK’s state-run National Health Service (NHS).

Ambani's other major UK acquisition in recent years was in 2019, when he bought the famous toy retailer Hamleys for an undisclosed sum.

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