Walgreens Boots Alliance has finalized its purchase of a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores, a leading Chinese retail pharmacy chain. The deal, valued at approximately $416 million, had been awaiting regulatory approval since it was announced in December 2017.
GuoDa operates more than 3,800 retail pharmacies in 70 cities, employing close to 20,000 people. It is the China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation’s retail pharmacy platform, established in 2004 and headquartered in Shanghai, China.
“We believe GuoDa holds a strong position in the sector, and as a global pharmacy-led health and beauty enterprise, we are well positioned to support its further growth ambition,” said Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina in a statement. “We are looking forward to sharing our international best practices and pharmacy expertise. We believe there is great potential in working together to play a transforming role in the evolving Chinese retail pharmacy market.”
The Walgreens investment in China comes at a time when retail and health care are becoming more tightly intertwined. Amazon bought mail order prescription startup PillPack in June 2018 for just under $1 billion, and Walgreens rival CVS Health purchased health insurance provider Aetna for $69 billion in December 2017. Walmart has discussed buying another health insurance provider, Humana, though no formal announcement has been made since reports of the talks surfaced in March 2018.