Walgreens to sell drug wholesale business for $6.5B

Walgreens Boots Alliance will sell its pharmaceutical wholesale business to AmerisourceBergen in $6.5 billion cash and stock deal.

Pharmaceutical wholesalers essentially act as middlemen, purchasing drugs from manufacturers and then distributing them to customers like drugstore chains.

Walgreens says it will now have the flexibility to invest in and focus on its retail business which, like others, has been rattled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

AmerisourceBergen will pay nearly $6.3 billion in cash and two million shares of its common stock for Walgreens’ Alliance Healthcare business, the companies said Wednesday.

The companies will also extend their U.S. distribution agreement by three years, until 2029.

Shares of AmerisourceBergen Corp., based in Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania, jumped more than 6% in early trading. Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., based in Deerfield, Illinois, climbed more than 2%.