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Walgreens caps offer for Option Care

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreen Co. said Monday it had completed its tender offer for Option Care, and it predicted its $850 million buyout of the specialty pharmacy and health services company would be completed shortly.

With the expiration of an offer for Option Care, Bison Acquisition Sub Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens, had purchased approximately 32.7 million shares of the company, or 94 percent of Option Care’s outstanding stock. The deal, when finalized, will make that company a wholly owned subsidiary and vault the drug chain to a top spot among the nation’s specialty pharmacy operators.

The addition of Option Care will also boost Walgreens’ clout as a full-service health care provider in the battle for managed-care contracts.

Walgreens revealed July 2 it had agreed to purchase Option Care in a deal worth $850 million in cash and assumed debt. The merger, when completed, will propel Walgreens to the fourth-leading position in specialty pharmacy, according to the company.

From its home base of Buffalo Grove, Ill., Option Care fields teams of clinical professionals through a national network of more than 100 pharmacies, include 61 that are company-owned, in 34 states. Its services are used by more than 40,000 patients with acute or chronic conditions that can be treated at home, in a physician’s office or at one of Option Care’s ambulatory infusion suites.

Option Care’s services also include respiratory therapy and home medical equipment at some locations. Its operation will be merged with Walgreens’ growing specialty pharmacy and home care business, which has grown to 45 home care centers in 18 states, and six Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy locations.

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Rite Aid holds first managers conference since Brooks/Eckerd acquisition

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE Bigger. Better. Bolder.

That’s Rite Aid’s new credo, unveiled today at the opening session for the thousands of veteran Rite Aid store managers and pharmacists and the thousands more Brooks and Eckerd personnel who attended their first Rite Aid managers conference.

“This is a union of two strong and established companies,” Mary Sammons, Rite Aid president, chairman and chief executive officer told a conference room of Rite Aid associates Monday morning. “We have created a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts,” she said.

The meeting served as a refresher of Rite Aid’s mission statement, corporate objectives and core corporate values for Rite Aid’s veteran employees and emphasized the importance of delivering to Rite Aid’s new employees. “[Customers] know we’re bigger—they expect better. … Now is the time to be bolder,” Sammons said. “Our acquisition of Brooks and Eckerd has established us as a bold drug store.”

With the recently completed acquisition of the Brooks and Eckerd stores along the East Coast, Rite Aid joins the list of Fortune 100 companies, Sammons said, and has notched the first or second position in pharmacy market share in 70 percent of its East Coast markets, including Baltimore, Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York and Washington.

And while the company converts those Brooks and Eckerd store banners to Rite Aid, Sammons said Rite Aid still is committed to growing organically with 1,000 additional Customer World prototype stores to be built and opened in the next five years.

Sammons also recognized Jim Mastrian, who is stepping aside as chief operating officer of Rite Aid as part of a succession plan to make room for H.E.B. veteran Robert Easley, Sammons said. Easley joins the company as chief operating officer today. Mastrian will assume a new full-time role, special adviser on corporate strategy, Sammons said, helping to continue to evolve Rite Aid’s long-term strategy and specifically focusing on integrating the Brooks and Eckerd stores into the Rite Aid fold.

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National Sales Solutions appoints Robinson exec VP

BY Adam Kraemer

ST. LOUIS National Sales Solutions, a sales and marketing management company, announced that Chuck Robinson has been appointed executive vice president of sales for the Eastern Region.

Robinson spent over 20 years as a buyer and director of health and beauty care at Super Valu and Giant Eagle. In 1984, Robinson became president of Master Merchandisers and grew their business from $300,000 to over $6 million. Most recently he was vice president of sales at Rainbow Light Nutritional where he was responsible for sales development in all Food, Drug, and Mass in the United States.

National Sales Solutions specializes in helping consumer packaged goods manufacturers become established and grow their business in the Food, Drug, and Mass chains in the U.S.

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