(Reuters) – Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) said on Tuesday it received regulatory clearance to buy 1,932 stores, 254 stores lesser than it had previously intended, from Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N) for $4.38 billion.
The deal, which widens Walgreens’ footprint in the United States and will help negotiate for lower drug costs, has been in the works for nearly two years but has faced regulatory hurdles.
Rite Aid has also been offered the option of joining Walgreens’ group purchasing agreement to negotiate discounts on generic drug prices.
Walgreens also said it would buy Rite Aid’s three distribution centers located in Dayville, Connecticut; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The No. 1 U.S. drugstore chain had said in July it would buy 2,186 Rite Aid stores for $5.18 billion after it failed to win approval to take over the nearly 4,600-store chain.
Walgreens said it does not expect the deal to have a significant impact on its adjusted earnings for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2018.
Store purchases would begin in October, with completion anticipated in spring 2018.
Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens said it expects to realize annual synergies from the new transaction of about $300 million.
Shares of Walgreens were up 1.4 percent at $83.75, while Rite Aid’s shares fell 1.8 percent to $2.68 in premarket trading.
Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D’Couto