A big merger comes through on the retail front. Walgreen Co. has agreed to buy Duane Reade Co. for $1.1 billion.
Walgreen, thepharmacy chain, said on Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Duane Reade Holdings, whose drugstores occupy many a New York City corner, for about $1.1 billion in cash.
Walgreen is buying the 257-store chain, which is burdened by a big debt load, from the private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. Thewill be financed by Walgreen's cash on hand and includes the assumption of debt.
“Duane Reade is a compelling strategic acquisition that will immediately provide Walgreens with a leading position in the largest drugstore market in the U.S.,” Gregory D. Wasson, Walgreen's chief executive, said in a statement.
Duane Reade, founded in 1960 and named after the two streets in Lower Manhattan where the first store was built, generated about $1.8 billion in sales in 2009, according to Walgreen.