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Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. is an American holding company headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, that owns Walgreens, Boots, and a number of pharmaceutical manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution companies. The company was formed on December 31, 2014, after Walgreens purchased the 55% stake in UK and Switzerland-based Alliance Boots that it did not already own. The total price of the acquisition was $4.9 billion in cash and 144.3 million common shares with fair value of $10.7 billion.[2] Walgreens had previously purchased 45% of the company for $4.0 billion and 83.4 million common shares in August 2012 with an option to purchase the remaining shares within three years.[3] Walgreens became a subsidiary of the newly created company after the transactions were completed.[4]

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
Traded as
PredecessorWalgreen Co.
Alliance Boots
FoundedDecember 31, 2014 (2014-12-31)
United States
Area served
Key people
Jim Skinner
(Executive Chairman)
Stefano Pessina
(Vice Chairman and CEO)
ProductsDrug store
RevenueIncrease US$131.5 billion[1] (2018)
Increase US$6.4 billion[1] (2018)
Increase US$5.0 billion[1] (2018)
Total assetsIncrease US$68.12 billion[1] (2018)
Total equityDecrease US$26.68 billion[1] (2018)
OwnerStefano Pessina (16%)
Number of employees
415,000[1] (2018)
DivisionsRetail Pharmacy USA
Retail Pharmacy International
Pharmaceutical Wholesale
SubsidiariesAlliance Healthcare
Boots UK
Duane Reade
Walgreen Company
Farmacias Benavides
Farmacias Ahumada

The company is organized into three divisions: Retail Pharmacy USA (Walgreens and Duane Reade), Retail Pharmacy International (Boots and other retail operations internationally), and Pharmaceutical Wholesale, incorporating Alliance Healthcare.[5] The new holding company began trading on the NASDAQ on December 31, 2014.[6]

The combined business has operations in over 25 countries. Walgreens had formerly operated solely within the United States and its territories, while Alliance Boots operated a more international business.

In October 2018, Walgreens Boots Alliance published its fourth quarter earnings report. Fiscal year 2018 sales were $131.5 billion, up 11.3% from fiscal 2017, and GAAP net earnings increased to $5.0 billion.[7]

On June 26, 2018, Walgreens Boots Alliance replaced General Electric on the Dow Jones Industrial Index.[8]


Retail Pharmacy USAEdit

Walgreens and Duane Reade operate within the Retail Pharmacy USA division of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Both businesses sell prescription and non-prescription drugs, and a range of household items, including personal care and beauty products. Walgreens provides access to consumer goods and services, plus pharmacy, photo department, health and wellness services in the United States through its retail drugstores. The division has 9,560 drugstores as of 31 August 2018.[9] Walgreens runs several online stores, such as:, and

Walgreens has stores in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On October 27, 2015, Walgreens announced the purchase of competitor Rite Aid for $17.2 billion.[10] However, that deal was later scrapped due to antitrust concerns in favor of a $5.18 billion deal, in which Walgreens only acquired half of Rite Aid locations.[11]

On September 19, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved a fourth deal agreement to purchase 1,932 Rite Aid stores for $4.38 billion total, a transaction which was completed in January 2018. [12]

Retail Pharmacy InternationalEdit

Boots forms the main part of the Retail Pharmacy International division of the company. The Boots brand has a history stretching back over 160 years and is a familiar sight on Britain's high streets. Stores are located in prominent high street and city center locations as well as in local communities. Most branches include a pharmacy and focus on healthcare, personal care, and cosmetic products, with most stores selling over-the-counter medicines. Larger stores typically offer a variety of healthcare services in addition to dispensing prescriptions, and chlamydia testing and treatment (private service). Optician services are also offered in many larger stores, with Boots Opticians providing eye tests along with the sale of spectacles and contact lenses.

Many stores also feature traditional photo processing and/or a HP picture kiosk where users of digital cameras and camera phones can create prints via Bluetooth, USB, or CD. Larger stores usually offer a range of electrical equipment such as hairdryers, curlers, and foot massagers, while selected stores offer a range of sandwiches, baguettes, wraps, salads, and beverages.

Since 1936, there have been Boots stores outside the UK. Stores in countries as widely spread as New Zealand, Canada (see Pharma Plus), and France were all closed in the 1980s. Today, there are Boots branded stores outside the UK and Ireland in countries including United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Norway, Lithuania, The Netherlands, and Thailand.

The remainder of the division is made up of the pharmacies Benavides in Mexico and Farmacias Ahumada (FASA) in Chile.

Pharmaceutical WholesaleEdit

Alliance Healthcare forms the main part of Walgreens Boots Alliance's Pharmaceutical Wholesale division. It operates twice daily deliveries to more than 16,000 delivery points in the UK alone.[13] Internationally, the Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division, which mainly operates under the Alliance Healthcare brand, supplies medicines, other healthcare products and related services to more than 110,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals each year from 291 distribution centers in 11 countries.[14] The division's Alphega Pharmacy network provides a range of services for independent pharmacies, including branding, professional training and patient care, retail support services and supply benefits together with pharmacy and IT support.[15]


For the fiscal year 2017, Walgreens Boots Alliance reported earnings of US$5.024 billion, with an annual revenue of US$131.537 billion, an increase of 11.3% over the previous fiscal cycle. Walgreens Boots Alliance's shares traded at over $68 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$72.4 billion in October 2018. Numbers before 2014 are for Walgreens only.[16] As of 2018, Walgreens Boots Alliance is ranked #19 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.[17]

Year Revenue
in mil. USD
Net income
in mil. USD
Total Assets
in mil. USD
Price per Share
in USD
Employees Stores
2005 42,202 1,560 14,609 36.34 179,000 4,950
2006 47,409 1,751 17,131 36.17 195,000 5,461
2007 53,762 2,041 19,314 35.64 226,000 5,997
2008 59,034 2,157 22,410 26.93 237,000 6,934
2009 63,335 2,006 25,142 26.59 238,000 7,496
2010 67,420 2,091 26,275 28.40 244,000 8,046
2011 72,184 2,714 27,454 33.76 247,000 8,210
2012 71,633 2,127 33,462 30.37 240,000 8,385
2013 72,217 2,548 35,481 45.76 248,000 8,582
2014 76,392 1,932 37,250 61.68 251,000 8,309
2015 103,444 4,220 68,782 80.08 360,000 12,755
2016 117,351 4,173 72,688 77.52 360,000 12,848
2017 118,214 4,078 66,009 76.94 345,000 12,822
2018 131,537 5,024 68,124 68.03 354,000 14,327

Product brandsEdit

Boots produces a large number of brands, including No7, Soltan and Botanics, Boots Pharmaceuticals, and Boots Laboratories, that Alliance Boots and Walgreens sought to launch internationally following the first share purchase in 2012.[18]

Launched in 1935, No7 is best known for its anti-aging beauty serums, developed in Nottingham, that first appeared in 2007. The range comprises products designed to target the aging concerns of specific age groups. No7 became available in Walgreens and Duane Reade stores in the US from November 2012, beginning in Los Angeles.[citation needed]

Launched in 1939, Soltan markets its UVA 5-star protection, a standard of protection developed by Boots and now adopted as the benchmark for suncare products in the UK.[citation needed] Although in both 2004 and 2015, Watchdog, a BBC consumer investigative TV program and cited on BBC News, plus the consumer WHICH? Magazine, each did an investigation finding the 5-star rating was unsubstantiated, and skincare experts declared it to be far less safe than claimed.[19][20][21]

First launched in 1995, the Botanics range, developed in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, uses plant extracts in a variety of products and includes a range of organic products. The Botanics range is also available through third party retailers.[citation needed]

The Boots own brand range of products includes skincare, medicines, healthcare products, and many more. Boots Laboratories skincare range for independent pharmacy customers was launched in France and Portugal in 2008/09 and is also sold in Spain, Italy, and Germany.[22]

Boots launched Almus, a brand of generic prescription drugs, in the UK in 2003.[23] It is now sold in five countries and is an umbrella brand for a wide range of lower cost generic medicines. Alliance Boots placed considerable emphasis on the design of the packaging in an attempt to reduce the number of errors by the dispensing chemist and by the patient relating to incorrect dosage which can result in either a dangerous accidental overdose or an equally dangerous under dose.[citation needed]

Walgreens has a self-branded line of products, "Well at Walgreens".[24]

In 2015, Walgreens Boots Alliance paid £140 million (about $250 million) for UK skincare brand Liz Earle Naturally Active, an Avon subsidiary since 2010.[25] Liz Earle Beauty Co co-founder Liz Earle, 'one of the biggest names in the beauty industry'[26] stayed on as an 'ambassador'[27] after selling the company for an undisclosed sum[28] and told her own Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine's website that '...alongside my new digital and print publishing the moment I’m still connected to Liz Earle Beauty Co and continue to work as a consultant to the brand that carries my name. I’m involved in new product development...'[29] In 2012, Liz Earle announced that she had left the company.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Walgreens Boots Alliance Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  2. ^ "Walgreens Boots Alliance, Form 8-K12B, Filing Date Dec 31, 2014". Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "Walgreens Boots Alliance, Form 10-Q, Quarterly Report, Filing Date Dec 30, 2014". Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  4. ^ "Walgreens Boots Alliance, Form S-4/A, Filing Date Nov 18, 2014". Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  5. ^ "Our divisions". Walgreens Boots Alliance. 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  6. ^ Linnane, Ciara (December 31, 2014). "Walgreen ticker changes to WBA after merger with Boots Alliance". Market Watch. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  7. ^ "Walgreens delivers double-digit growth in earnings". Chain Drug Review. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  8. ^ "GE Says Goodbye to the Dow". 2018-06-20. Retrieved 2018-06-21.
  9. ^ "Retail Pharmacy USA". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  10. ^ Wattles, Jackie (2015-10-27). "Walgreens buys Rite Aid in $17.2 billion deal". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  11. ^ Terlep, Sharon; Kendall, Brent (29 June 2017). "Walgreens, Rite Aid End $9.4 Billion Merger". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  12. ^ Langreth, Robert; McLaughlin, David (September 19, 2017). "Walgreens Wins U.S. Approval for Rite Aid Deal on Fourth Try". Bloomberg News. New York City: Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  13. ^ Holland, Tiffany (2013-10-01). "Analysis: Walgreens executive vice president Alex Gourlay profiled | Analysis". Retail Week. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  14. ^ "Pharmaceutical Wholesale". 2018-06-28. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  15. ^ Holland, Tiffany (2013-12-13). "Alliance Boots targets UK independent pharmacies with Alphega Pharmacy brand | Analysis". Retail Week. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  16. ^ "Walgreens Financial Statements 2005-2018 | WBA". Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  17. ^ "Fortune 500 Companies 2018: Who Made the List". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  18. ^ "Walgreen Co, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Oct 19, 2012". Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  19. ^ "Health | Tests cast doubt on sunscreens". BBC News. 2004-07-01. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  20. ^ "Sunscreen lotions failing protection tests, says Which? - BBC News". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  21. ^ "Q+A - sun care, suncream, sunburn, UVA, UVB, skin". Mumsnet. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  22. ^ "Boots Laboratories". Alliance Boots. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012.[self-published source]
  23. ^ "Almus reaches 10 year milestone in the UK - News | Latest news - Alliance Healthcare". Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  24. ^ Staff (June 12, 2015). "Walgreens recalls bottles of women's multivitamins". Pharmaceutical Processing. Associated Press.
  25. ^ Liz Earle sells beauty business to Avon, Evening Standard, London, 25 March 2010.Retrieved: 20 January 2017.
  26. ^ BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour website, 17 January 2017.Retrieved: 20 January 2017.
  27. ^ About us: Our ambassadors, Liz Earle Beauty Co corporate website, Undated.Retrieved: 20 January 2017.
  28. ^ UPDATE 1-Avon buys UK's Liz Earle Beauty in all cash deal, Reuters news agency, 25 March 2010.Retrieved: 20 January 2017.
  29. ^ Q&A with Liz, Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine website, Undated..Retrieved: 20 January 2017.
  30. ^ "Co-founder leaves Liz Earle". 27 April 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2017.

External linksEdit