Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

&And Boots Goes Local to Defend Its Turf

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

&And Boots Goes Local to Defend Its Turf

Article excerpt

ALLIANCE BOOTS is to promote its position as a trusted name at the heart of the UK High Street as it seeks to see off a i 1/210 billion bidding war from rival private equity houses.

The giant chemist is embarking on the biggest expansion of the brand in history, selling itself as "your local Boots pharmacy" in a clear echo of the strategy that saved Marks & Spencer.

Boots, which goes back to 1884, is spending i 1/265 million on refitting its community pharmacies network. As part of the plan, 900 Alliance pharmacies will be rebranded, making 2500 Boots stores across the UK in all.

Earlier this month, the firm said it had been approached by deputy chairman Stefano Pessina over a takeover bid that would be financed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. It rejected the initial deal.

Stymied by lawyers, chief executive Richard Baker declined to discuss any matter relating to the bid, even how often he sees Pessina.

Serial dealmaker Guy Hands is also pondering an offer via his Terra Firma bid vehicle. …

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