Amerisource shares jump on Walgreens buyout report

FILE - This June 4, 2014, file photo, shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Shares of AmerisourceBergen are soaring before the opening bell, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, on reports that Walgreens is pursuing a complete takeover of the huge drug distributor. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina reached out to AmerisourceBergen Corp. with the potential deal. Walgreens already owns about 26 percent of the company. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

NEW YORK — Shares of AmerisourceBergen soared Tuesday on reports that Walgreens is pursuing a complete takeover of the huge drug distributor.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. reached out to AmerisourceBergen Corp. about a potential deal several weeks ago. The paper, citing anonymous sources, said no offer is on the table.

Walgreens already owns about 26 percent of the company, according to data provider FactSet.

AmerisourceBergen Corp. jumped more than 8 percent, to $96.88, while broader indexes slipped in late morning trading.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. runs more than 13,200 stores in 11 countries, and is the largest U.S. drugstore chain. Last September, it said it would spend $4.38 billion to buy nearly 2,000 Rite Aid stores and some distribution centers and inventory.

Adding the rest of AmerisourceBergen would give the company a tighter grip on its supply chain. Walgreens is facing increased competition both from inside the sector and potentially imposing new rivals like Amazon.com Inc.

Walgreens started buying shares of AmerisourceBergen in 2013, when it entered a 10-year supply agreement with the company.

Jefferies analyst Brian Tanquilut said in a research note that he sees a financial case for buying the rest of the AmerisourceBergen, but the strategic rationale is a "bit of a headscratcher" since Walgreens already has a purchasing deal with Amerisource. But he noted that the deal also would increase Walgreens' exposure to the U.S. market.

Shares of Walgreens were up 41 cents to $68.88.

Must Read

The Latest: UN may have to reassess Iraq...

Feb 14, 2018

Head of the U.N.'s mine-clearing agency in Iraq says it will reassess priorities if a major donors...

Kuwait expels Philippines ambassador amid maid...

Apr 25, 2018

Kuwait expels Philippines ambassador, recalls own envoy amid dispute over housemaid abuse

Boost for Dutch ruling coalition as unemployment...

Jan 19, 2017

The number of people registered as unemployed in the Netherlands fell by more than 100,000 last...

Anti-Islam populist Wilders protests outside...

Mar 8, 2017

Anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders says Turkey's foreign minister is not welcome in the Netherlands...

Turkey-Dutch relations shatter after Turkish...

Mar 12, 2017

The escalating dispute between NATO allies Turkey and the Netherlands hit a new low Sunday, with a...