India's Reliance, Apollo Global plan joint bid for Walgreens' Boots business

The deal would see Boots expand its presence into India, South-east Asia and the Middle East. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BENGALURU (REUTERS) - Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries and US buyout firm Apollo Global Management are planning a joint bid for UK high street pharmacy chain Boots, a spokesman for Apollo confirmed on Wednesday.

The Financial Times, which first reported on the joint bid citing people familiar with the matter, said the deal would see Boots expand its presence into India, South-east Asia and the Middle East.

Both Reliance and Apollo would own stakes in Boots under the plan, although it is not clear whether the stakes would be of the same size, according to the report.

Reliance was not immediately available for comment, while Boots declined to comment.

Walgreens Boots Alliance put its Boots business up for sale after announcing a strategic review in January as the second-largest US pharmacy chain renews its focus on domestic healthcare.

The owners of British supermarket group Asda - brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa and private equity group TDR Capital - have also made an initial bid for Boots, which is valued at between £5 billion and £6 billion, the report said.

The 173-year-old Boots business spans across 2,200 stores in the United Kingdom, including pharmacies, health and beauty stores.

Reliance, owned by the country's second-wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani, is India's largest listed company by market value and operates businesses as diverse as oil and gas to retail chains and telecom networks.

Reliance, which has been on an acquisition spree over the last few years, bought iconic British businesses including toy store Hamleys in 2019 and country club Stoke Park last year.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.