Reliance, Apollo Global close in on Boots buyout; bid may come in today

Reliance, Apollo Global close in on Boots buyout; bid may come in today

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries and US-based Apollo Global Management are teaming to bid for Boots — the international chemist and drugstore unit of Walsgreen Boots Alliance Inc — according to a report in the Economic Times. The combined bid from Reliance and Apollo for Boots could come in as early as Friday, June 3.

In an earlier development, as reported in Business Standard, a consortium backed by billionaire businessmen Issa brothers was planning to drop out of the race for Boots over price disagreements. They balked at a request by Walgreens to increase their offer for the Boots drugstore chain.

The Issa-TDR group was bidding together for Boots through Asda Group Ltd, the British grocery chain they jointly own.

Walsgreen had put up the business for sale in December last year and has been seeking a valuation of about 7 billion pounds ($8.8 billion) for Boots, though bidders had pegged its worth around 5 billion pounds.

Bankers said RIL’s overseas subsidiary had tied up with American private equity giant Apollo Global Management to fund the transaction and was in talks to raise funds from overseas banks. If Ambani wins the race, then it would give him a formidable presence in the European retail market with access to 2,200 stores. RIL had acquired online drug seller NetMeds in India and the Boots acquisition will help it launch NetMeds abroad and bring the offline retail chain to India.

The drugstore chain is currently owned by American retail giant Walgreens Boots Alliance and has a presence in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Thailand, and Indonesia.