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Walgreens scraps plans to sell British drugstore chain Boots

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Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss Walgreens’ decision to retain ownership of its British drugstore chain Boots.

Video transcript

- Also I want to talk about Walgreens this morning here. WBA is the ticker symbol there. Walgreens Boots Alliance keeping its Boots on. The pharmacy-- this chain is going to retain the ownership of the British retail pharmacy chain Boots because Walgreens was unable to find a buyer. Walgreens set to focus instead on growth and profitability. We're also going to hear from Walgreens Boots Alliance later on this week. I believe we've got some updates-- business updates that are coming forth in the form of earnings on the 30th that should be coming out as well.

- I think it wasn't just that they couldn't find a buyer. It was that they couldn't find a buyer at the price that they wanted. I think there were some suitors out there, but they were dissatisfied with the offers on the table.

- I have to say, I'm surprised by this decision. This is a business that's been under review for some time. It's still, I think, seen internally at Walgreens as an afterthought. These were assets acquired by former CEO Stefano Pessina. He's still the executive chairman on this board, and he's the largest individual shareholder of Walgreens. Owns about 17% of the company.

And I do wonder-- you know, he is the one that bought Walgreens Boots for, I believe, a combined $22 billion over a series of years-- how much influence he had in this decision. Because Roz Brewer, best in class executive, CEO of the company, very familiar with international operations having spent time having led Sam's Club and was over at Starbucks, you would think she would like to get rid of this business, free up those operating profits, free up that cash flow, and go all in on reinvesting in that Walgreens US business to go out there and compete more with the likes of a Target.

- And there's still value in Boots as well. I mean, when you look at any time of an economic kind of either downturn or a pullback, what do consumers lean into? They lean into these little luxuries. It's the makeup that you're buying. It's that cup of coffee. That $10 one that you were shouting out Val for earlier today.

- Yeah, she loves her $10 coffee.

- Which you tried for the first time and you loved apparently.

- Yeah, loved it.

- And so it's those little luxuries that people buy into. And for Boots, they're the leading health and beauty retailer in the UK, as Walgreens Boots Alliance continues to note. And so with that, you have to wonder what the actual price tag could be if they continue to find a suitor. But as of right now, saying, hey, we're just going to hold on to it.

- I'm glad you mentioned that. I went to my Walgreens two weeks ago for some new eye depuffer, I mean, I was-- I felt luxurious. It was a great experience. I like Walgreens. They've reinvented a lot of stores. They look-- they're easy to shop, friendly to shop. I'm glad I went there and got my eye depuffer. It's great.

- I love all of these consumer insights. So we've got Connor with this Walmart sneakers. We've got Sozz with his eye depuffer. I don't know that I've ever bought eye depuffer. You don't just use--

- You roll it on your eyes. Nice and cool. It's great. It works.

- You don't just use the cucumber slices?

- Nah, I don't have time for that.

- That's the old school.

- I know.

- I don't have time for that. OK.

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