Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is going to have to cool its heels a little longer in its quest to acquire Rite Aid Corp. The companies announced an agreement to extend the end date for the merger deal and lower the offer price.

The end date has been pushed to July 31 — which is 20 months from when the deal was revealed in 2015. The previous extension expired last Friday. The delay is to have extra time to gain regulatory approval from the Federal Trade Commission.

Also, the price for WBA to acquire Rite Aid has been cut to a minimum of $6.50 per share and a maximum of $7 per share. The exact price per share will be determined based on the number of required store divestitures, with the price set at $7 per share if 1,000 stores or fewer are required for divestiture and at $6.50 per share if 1,200 stores are required for divestiture. If the required divestitures fall between 1,000 and 1,200 stores, then there will be a pro-rata adjustment of the price per share. News of the reduced price knocked Rite Aid shares down to $5.84 on Monday morning. Its 52-week high was $8.77.

WBA is also willing to let more of the stores go to get the green light. The company said it will be required to divest up to 1,200 Rite Aid stores and certain other assets if necessary for regulatory approval. Originally 1,000 units were part of the plan. Late last year, Fred’s Inc. stepped up to say it would purchase 865 stores for $950 million in cash from WBA.

Reports surfaced that private equity firm Cerberus Capital is once again interested in acquiring the stores that WBA needs to shed. Cerberus had participated in an auction of the stores, but lost to Fred’s. However, a Cerberus spokesman told WWD, “We have not recently reiterated our interest in buying the divested stores.”

 

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