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WBA makes $970M majority investment in Shields Health Solutions

Walgreens Boots Alliance hopes to use the investment in the specialty pharmacy company as a means of speeding up the development of new healthcare models and creating a platform from which to build partnerships with health systems.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, via Walgreens, is investing nearly $1 billion in specialty pharmacy care company Shields Health Solutions. WBA’s $970 million investment gives it a majority share in the health system-owned with the aim of accelerating the development of innovative healthcare models and creating a platform to develop health system partnerships and coordinated care for patients with complex, chronic conditions. 

“Delivering pharmacy and healthcare services in the local community is one of many ways WBA is working to improve access and health outcomes, as well as to lower the total cost of care,” said Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “We’re continuing to make strategic investments in pharmacy and healthcare solutions that can build on our core pharmacy business, and further expand our healthcare reach in communities. The Shields model has shown to improve patient care and will be complementary to our existing specialty pharmacy offering, further expanding our capabilities to best meet the needs of health system partners and patients.”

[Read more: Q&A: WBA’s Monti outlines the company’s approach to health and wellness]

In the past two years, Shields has expanded its platform to include more than 1 mllion specialty patients across more than 30 disease states, adding 70-plus health system partners across the country. 

“Shields pioneered the integrated, health system specialty pharmacy approach that has quickly gained traction in the industry. In doing so, we have consistently delivered exceptional growth and value through a model that research shows leads to better outcomes and quality of life,” said Lee Cooper, CEO, Shields Health Solutions. “WBA’s further investment in Shields is a validation of our proven growth strategy, and we are pleased they will be an even more powerful driver in helping us to broaden and deepen our differentiated model. We will remain focused on driving improved clinical and economic outcomes for our stakeholders: our valued health system partners, our patients most in-need, and our care-focused and talented team.”

Once the investment is complete, the companies said Shields would continue to operate as it does now, managed under its current executive leadership as a discrete brand and entity. Under the investment, existing Shields shareholders — including private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, or WCAS — and chairman Jack Shields will retain their status as shareholders. 

[Read more: Walgreens, Northwell Health ink strategic agreement]

“Our partnership with the Shields Health Solutions management team, Jack Shields and WBA has been outstanding,” said Tom Scully, General Partner, WCAS. Brian Regan, Head of the Healthcare Group and General Partner, WCAS, added, “WCAS has extensive and deep relationships with leading health systems and Shields represents a tremendous example of our ability to successfully partner with them to scale a business.”

The companies expect the transaction to close by late in the second quarter of WBA’s fiscal 2022. WBA will consolidate Shields’ financials, with the expectation that it will be modestly accretive in the first full year after completion. 

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