Home » Reliance, India’s Largest Company, May Potentially Buy Walgreens’ British Drugstore Business – Forbes

Reliance, India’s Largest Company, May Potentially Buy Walgreens’ British Drugstore Business – Forbes

by Arifa Rana

Reliance Industries is one of the world’s largest multinational conglomerates and is India’s largest private sector company. The industry giant has robust business units that span across multiple verticals, including textiles, energy production, telecom, and scientific research, just to name a few. The company is a staple in nearly Indian household, ringing familiar as one of the most dynamic and innovative successes to have emerged from the Indian subcontinent.
In its latest venture, the celebrated company has its eyes set on a new potential project: the acquisition of one of the world’s largest drug store organizations, Walgreens Boots Alliance. Reuters reported earlier this week that Boots will be sold in an auction process and is estimated to be worth nearly 8 billion pounds.
There are many reasons why Reliance may be interested in an organization like Boots.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is one of the largest drugstore chains globally, and boasts an incredible 4,000+ stores across the world, spanning 5 countries. It has an especially impressive presence in the UK; the company notes that “About 86 percent of the UK population lives within 10 minutes of a Boots store.”
ALEXANDRIA, VA – APRIL 20, 2018: A business sign hangs over the entrance to a Walgreens pharmacy … [+] and store in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
In the grand scheme of things, Walgreens is also attempting to go beyond just standard retail pharmacy services, and is attempting to address more specialized healthcare needs. The company explains: “Our pharmacists are well-positioned to provide a significant role in the provision of healthcare services, working closely with other primary healthcare providers in the communities we serve […] We continually seek to enhance the position of Boots as a trusted pharmacy brand and a leading provider of healthcare, beauty advice and services in local communities. We do this by delivering expert customer care, through investment in existing stores, by selectively expanding our store portfolio and, increasingly, through developing our omnichannel offering.”
Indeed, this is a promising venture for Reliance to pursue. The greater Walgreens business and its Boots division have undoubtedly created an incredible name and brand recognition factor that instills trust and confidence in community members globally. Furthermore, as Walgreens increasingly transitions from purely providing pharmacy services to offering more robust healthcare services, impacted communities will thrive with easier access points to primary care services.
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 06: Members of the public walk past a branch of Boots the chemist on … [+] Oxford Street on August 6, 2014 in London, England. US pharmacy chain ‘Walgreens’, who previously owned 45% of ‘Alliance Boots’ has announced a 9 billion GBP purchase of the remaining shares in the company. Boots currently have 2,487 stores across the UK and employ over 60,000 people. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Mukesh Ambani (Right) and Ratan Tata (Center) are welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi … [+] (Left).(Photo by Kalpit Bhachech/Dipam Bhachech/Getty Images).
Retail giants are increasingly pursuing this model in the United States. One of Walgreens’ prime competitors, CVS Pharmacy, has its own version of primary care services, MinuteClnic. In a similar fashion, Walmart, another celebrated retail staple, is quickly expanding its own iteration of primary care through its Care Clinic venture. Indeed, these companies, alongside Walgreens, recognize that their incredible brand recognition and widespread presence can provide significant value and access to care to millions of people.
Congruently, Reliance has always been about the people—and hence, Walgreens Boots’ reputation aligns well with the company’s mission. If Reliance does indeed go through with this purchase, the company will assuredly attempt to expand WBA more aggressively into the Indian subcontinent. This means that Boots will be able to further penetrate into one of the world’s largest and rapidly booming healthcare markets, having an opportunity to potentially serve the nearly 1.3+ billion people in India. Indeed, if successful, this venture will undoubtedly be a win-win relationship in the years to come.


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