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'Tremendous change afoot' for Walgreens Boots Alliance, board member says





NEW YORK — The buzz around what Walgreens Boots Alliance may or may not acquire in the coming days will come to a head tomorrow, many believe, as the company hosts its first analyst day as a merged entity. 


On Monday, Barry Rosenstein, managing partner of JANA Partners and Walgreens Boots Alliance board member, hinted that Walgreens Boots Alliance may be pulling the trigger on an acquisition in the U.S. sooner than later in an exclusive interview with CNBC. "The Walgreens situation is terrific," he told CNBC. "There's tremendous change afoot. There's opportunities on the cost side; there's opportunities on the capital allocation side; and there's strategic opportunities. I think you're going to see this company continue to do some pretty exciting things."


"WBA's willingness to pursue horizontal and/or vertical M&A represents an encouraging signal in our view, as it's clear new management recognizes the challenges of its current market position and plans to more aggressively improve its strategic outlook," stated Ed Kelly, Credit Suisse research analyst, in a note published Monday. "A horizontal drug retail deal - the first option highlighted by management - clearly makes sense. That being said, the evolving healthcare landscape opens the door to other attractive options," he suggested. "We believe a large vertical PBM transaction with Express Scripts or a JV with a captive PBM like UNH's Optum could also create value and address issues with the stand-alone drugstore model."


Walgreens Boots Alliance will host its 2015 Analyst Day in New York City at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Battery Park on Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern time both days. The first day will include an overview of the company’s operations and strategy from senior leadership of Walgreens Boots Alliance. The second day will consist of a half-day session to review financial performance and provide management’s perspective regarding key financial variables.


Follow @DSN_MikeJohnsen on April 15 using hashtag #WBAfuture for up-to-the-minute live tweets of the all-day event. 

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