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Walgreens-Alliance Boots deal sealed; senior leaders join respective boards

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Alliance Boots on Thursday announced the completion of Walgreens’ initial investment in the strategic partnership following receipt of all required regulatory approvals. 

The Walgreens investment consists of approximately $4 billion in cash and 83.4 million shares of Walgreens common stock in exchange for a 45% equity stake in Alliance Boots. Walgreens has the option to proceed to a full combination in approximately three years’ time by acquiring the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots.

As a result of the transaction, Alliance Santé Participations S.A., of which Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina is a director and whose ultimate ownership is a family trust, becomes the largest shareholder of Walgreens, with a stake it intends to hold for the long term.

In line with this, Pessina and Dominic Murphy, member of the general partner of KKR & Co., have joined the Walgreens board. At the same time, Walgreens’ president and CEO Greg Wasson; Wade Miquelon, EVP and CFO; Thomas Sabatino, EVP and general counsel; and Robert Zimmerman, SVP and chief strategy officer, have become members of the Alliance Boots board.

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Crest and Oral-B partner with actress Jennie Garth, add new children’s oral care products

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Crest and Oral-B have expanded their kid-focused lines and teamed up with actress and mom of three Jennie Garth and her 9-year-old daughter, Lola, to inspire children and parents alike to brush up on their oral hygiene before heading back to school this fall.

The goal: to educate families about how important it is to practice healthy lifestyle habits beginning at an early age — and how those habits can help children maintain good health and build confidence into adulthood.

“As a parent, I want to build a strong and healthy foundation for my daughters, which is why I have always tried to instill good habits related to nutrition, fitness and oral care,” Garth said. “Sometimes it’s more difficult to keep routines in place during the summer. The back-to-school season is a great time to build a schedule that works for the whole family and to identify the right tools to ensure we take the best care of ourselves.”

In addition, Crest and Oral-B are introducing products to its kid-focused lines Crest and Oral-B Pro-Health For Me.

The line marks the first complete line of oral care products for tweens — kids 8 years and up — and now includes a new electric toothbrush to address oral care issues affecting this specific age group, particularly those with braces. Oral-B Stages, designed for children ranging from 4 months to 7 years of age, has added a Disney favorite, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, to the product line.

Crest and Oral-B want to help families re-establish their daily routines before school starts. To do so, they are partnering with CafeMom, an online community for moms nationwide, to host a special event featuring Garth and her daughter Lola in New York City on Aug. 8. During the event, parents and kids of all ages will have the opportunity to participate in activities and learn about the newest dental health products from Crest and Oral-B. In addition, Garth will be answering questions on the Oral-B Facebook page on Aug. 8 at 12 p.m. EST.

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NCPA rejects proposed swipe fee settlement

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday rejected a proposed settlement in relation to the antitrust lawsuit that NCPA and other parties have brought against several banks regarding alleged collusive practices, including swipe fees at exorbitant levels and limiting competition.

"After closely reviewing this complex and multifaceted proposed agreement along with legal counsel, NCPA’s board concluded that the settlement is insufficient and that accepting it would not be in the best interest of merchants and the independent community pharmacy owners that NCPA represents," NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey said. "NCPA joined this lawsuit to achieve meaningful, long-term reforms to the current swipe fee system. This proposed settlement came woefully short by not imposing necessary fundamental changes to the structure of the industry and the rules affecting merchants, particularly small-business community pharmacies."  

According to the NCPA, the settlement appears to offer merchants the ability to pass along some excessive credit card fees to their customers in order to incentivize consumers to use alternative, lower-cost methods of payment, but "enough strings are attached and existing barriers exist to effectively eliminate this as an option." In addition, the settlement broadly curtails pharmacies and other merchants from taking any future action against the credit card companies by releasing any and all claims going forward. "Finally, nothing in this agreement restrains the credit card companies from imposing significantly higher fees for years to come, effectively wiping out the monetary component of the settlement," Hoey added.    

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