Walgreen Co., the biggest U.S. drugstore chain, agreed to buy Duane Reade Holdings Inc. from affiliates of Oak Hill Capital Partners for $618 million to expand in metropolitan New York. Walgreen said that with its purchase, it also will assume $457 million in Duane Reade debt, Bloomberg reported Feb. 17.
The $1 billion Duane Reade acquisition makes Walgreen the biggest drugstore chain in New York’s five boroughs, ahead of Rite Aid Corp. and CVS Caremark Corp., which is second in the U.S. in stores and retail sales. The acquisition adds 257 Duane Reade stores to Walgreen’s existing 7,100 stores, including 70 Walgreen’s stores in the New York area – only 13 of which are in Manhattan, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Walgreen said it doesn’t plan to close any Duane Reade locations, 60 percent of which are in Manhattan, according to Bloomberg. Furthermore, Walgreen Chief Executive Greg Wasson said they will retain the Duane Reade name, at least until such time as Walgreen can “harmonize” the two brands, according to the Journal. The deal is expected to close by Aug, 31, according to Crain’s.
Walgreen will spend about $60 million over the next few years to refurbish Duane Reade stores, Walgreen Chief Financial Officer Wade D. Miquelon said on a Feb. 17 conference call, according to Reuters. In an interview on Bloomberg Television, Wasson said that Walgreen will continue to consider other acquisitions.