Walgreens Boots Alliance on Tuesday scrapped its plan to sell its UK high street pharmacy chain, Boots, saying no third party was able to make an adequate offer due to the turmoil in the global financial markets.
Walgreens' move to call off the sale comes as private equity bidders Apollo and TDR faced headwinds in raising financing for the deal, several sources told Reuters, as banks were wary of underwriting large chunks of the financing due to tough market conditions.
Boots was initially valued at as much as 8 billion pounds, according to banking sources.
Global economic uncertainty and rising inflation have triggered a spike in interest rates as central banks have rushed to take action in the most widespread tightening of monetary policy for more than two decades, making deal financing costlier and harder to access.
In Britain, supermarket chain Morrisons' 7-billion-pound takeover by U.S. buyout fund CD&R is the most notable debt financing deal to have hit a snag as its plan to raise $6.6 billion in debt to fund the deal was delayed.
Walgreens had put its Boots business up for sale after announcing a strategic review in January as the second-largest U.S. pharmacy chain renewed its focus on domestic healthcare.
The company said the decision to retain Boots and No7 Beauty Company is also underpinned by their ongoing strong performance.
"It is an exciting time for these businesses, which are uniquely positioned to continue to capture future opportunities presented by the growing healthcare and beauty market," Walgreens Chief Executive Officer Rosalind Brewer said.
The 173-year-old Boots business includes 2,200 stores in the United Kingdom, including pharmacies, health and beauty stores.
Walgreen shares fell nearly 3% to $41 before the bell.
(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru, Pamela Barbaglia in London; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)