A takeover of drug distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp. by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. would boost Walgreen’s per-share earnings, but would be a headscratcher for investors, Jefferies analysts wrote Tuesday. Walgreens recently approached Amerisource CEO Steven Collis with a view to buying the stake in the company it does not already own, as The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday. Walgreens owns a 26% stake in the company. “While we see strategic value in joining forces with a leading drug distributor such as ABC, we believe WBA has already pursued this opportunity when it formed the WBAD purchasing consortium with ABC and acquired its minority stake in the company,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a note. “WBA has been openly discussing their intention of continuing to pursue vertical-integration deal opportunities, but acquiring the rest of ABC, while financially-rational, begs the question on what incremental strategic value the deal would bring, especially in light of recent moves by CVS and AET and even ESRX buying eviCore.” A deal would however help Walgreens expand in the U.S. and reduce its reliance on the UK’s Boots chain, at a time when the UK market is facing reimbursement and macro pressures, they wrote. Walgreens shares were down 1.7% premarket, while Amerisource was up 13%. S&P 500 futures were down 0.4%.
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