KKR’s Walgreen Boots buyout shows how massive the US market is

Private equity giant KKR is reportedly preparing a record buyout of Walgreen Boots for $70bn. The deal size shows the gulf in size between the US and European markets.

The infographic below illustrates just how much larger and corporatised the US healthcare market is.

Looking at private M&A deals in healthcare services – including pharmacies – the US has seen bigger deals in the last 18 months than Europe has in the last decade.

Walgreen Boots has just 20% of its revenues in Europe mostly through it’s UK subsidiary – high-street pharmacy chain Boots. That has  performed weakly over the past year as the country’s NHS cut reimbursement for prescriptions and it has struggled with competition from cheaper rivals.

Sources in the pharmacy market say that the potential buyout is unlikely to affect the UK subsidiary for a number of years because all of KKR’s resources will be spent restructuring the American business. Its biggest shareholder, Stefano Pessina, has spoken publicly about how quarterly pressure from shareholders doesn’t allow time and space to introduce initiatives like digitalisation.
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