• Saturday, July 13, 2024

Business

American parent drops London listing plan for Boots

In recent years there has been a dearth of initial public offerings at the London Stock Exchange. British chipmaker ARM had ditched London for New York last year

FILE PHOTO: A man rides his bike past a Boots pharmacy on July 09, 2020 in York, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

The American owner of Boots has dropped plans for a London float for the chemist and is reportedly scouting for potential buyers, according to media reports.

The move has robbed the UK’s ailing stock market of an anticipated listing. In recent years there has been a dearth of initial public offerings (IPOs) at the London Stock Exchange.

Last year, British chipmaker ARM ditched London for New York, where it notched the biggest IPO of 2023 at the Nasdaq exchange.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is reportedly in talks over a sale, with potential buyers including private equity firms. However, a spokesman for Walgreens refused to comment.

Walgreens, with more than 330,000 staff and 12,500 stores, has suffered a sharp drop in its market value in the past year as it contends with high debts in the wake of an aggressive acquisition spree. The New-York listed company reported operating losses of $13.2 billion (£10.38bn) in the first six months of its financial year.

Walgreens bought Boots in 2014 and considered selling it in 2022, but later shelved plans.

The potential buyers back then included the Issa brothers, the owners of Asda, the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, Apollo, the private equity group, and its rivals CVC and Bain Capital.

Boots, which began as a family herbal medicine shop in Nottingham in 1849, is now Britain’s biggest high-street chemist, with about 2,000 stores.

Sales over the three months to the end of February were 3 per cent higher than a year earlier thanks to skin care products.

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