Former frontrunner to buy Boots may 'revive' offer if price drops

Business

Former frontrunner to buy Boots may 'revive' offer if price drops

A business consortium that walked away from discussions to buy Boots may reconsider its decision if parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance slashes the price tag for the multiple.

The Times reported on Sunday March 20 that “a source close to” the Bain Capital/CVC Capital consortium had indicated its "interest could be revived" if WBA “was willing to countenance a lower price”.

Bain and CVC were considered an early frontrunner in Boots sale talks due to CVC head of UK investment Dominic Murphy’s lengthy history with Boots and current position on the WBA board.

However, it was reported at the beginning of this month that the consortium had failed to submit an initial offer by the February 28 deadline, having been put off by WBA’s price expectations, which are rumoured to be in the region of £7bn. 

Interested companies that have submitted non-binding bids begin meeting with WBA management this week, despite the ongoing war in Ukraine causing market unrest and potentially making it more difficult for bidders to access the capital needed to finance an acquisition.

“Four or five” interested parties are still in the running, a source close to WBA told the Times. These include US buyout group Apollo and Asda’s owners, TDR capital and brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa.

Asda reportedly submitted two separate offers, one in which the buyout would led by the supermarket chain and another in which it would be managed by its owners. 

Sycamore Partners has also submitted a non-binding bid, although it is reportedly less likely to make a firm offer on the multiple, city sources have said. 

Bain Capital, CVC and Boots UK have been approached for comment.

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