Walgreens expects to divest up to 1,000 stores to realize Rite Aid acquisition

By Kevin Zimmerman

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Walgreens expects to divest itself of between 500 and 1,000 stores to appease U.S. antitrust regulators with the Justice Department before it can move forward with its announced plans of acquiring Rite Aid for $9.41 billion, creating the nation’s largest drugstore chain.

The company’s parent holding company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, said it still expects the deal to close in the second half of this year. Walgreens currently operates about 8,200 stores and Rite Aid 4,500. Even with the closure of 1,000 stores, the combined company would still dwarf the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, CVS Health, which has 9,600 outlets.

“The company also continues to expect that it will realize synergies from the acquisition in excess of $1 billion, to be fully realized within three to four years of closing,” according to a Walgreens Boots Alliance statement.

No indication of which stores could be closed was given. The two chains operate dozens of stores in Connecticut, including outlets in Norwalk, Stamford, Shelton, Newtown, Monroe and Danbury, including a Walgreens at Danbury Hospital.

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