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Walgreens Boots pockets $992 million after cutting Cencora stake for third time

Published 02/07/2024, 07:33 PM
Updated 02/07/2024, 07:36 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: People walk by a Walgreens, owned by the Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) on Wednesday said it has cut its stake in pharmaceutical distributor Cencora for the third time in just over six months, pocketing about $992 million.

The proceeds include around $942 million from shares sold as well as about $50 million from a concurrent share repurchase by Cencora, formerly AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:COR).

Walgreens has been grappling with waning demand for COVID-19 vaccines and testing as well as decreased spending on personal care and beauty products by inflation-weary consumers.

It said it now owns around 13% of Cencora's common stock from 15% previously, and that it would use the sale proceeds primarily to pay down debt.

The sale will have no impact on their long-term partnership and Walgreens' chief operating officer, international, Ornella Barra, will continue to serve on Cencora's board of directors, Walgreens said.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: People walk by a Walgreens, owned by the Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Walgreens sold Cencora shares worth about $674 million in November 2023 and earned about $1.85 billion from a sale in August.

Cencora changed its name from AmerisourceBergen in the second half of 2023 as part of efforts to expand internationally beyond drug distribution.

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