In the midst of layoffs and two opioid settlements, Walgreens Boots Alliance has announced the sale of its remaining shares of Option Care Health for approximately $330 million
Proceeds will be used primarily for debt paydown, continued support of the company’s strategic priorities and healthcare transformation, the company said in Thursday’s announcement.
“The transaction is another decisive action WBA is taking to unlock value and further simplify the company’s portfolio,” Walgreens Boots Alliance said.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The announcement comes after WBA in late May announced it was laying off 10% of its corporate workforce, a move that affected 504 employees.
A WBA spokesperson said, “As we continue to transform our business into a consumer-centric healthcare company, we are focused on aligning our structure and streamlining our operations to best serve our patients and customers. With that in mind, we are making the difficult decision to eliminate 504 roles, which account for 10% of our corporate workforce. None of these roles are based at our stores, microfulfillment centers or call centers. We’re grateful for the many contributions by the team members who will be leaving our organization, and are committed to supporting them as much as possible during this transition.”
Walgreens has been hit financially by opioid settlements.
On Friday, WBA, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, CVS Health and AbbVie’s Allergan agreed to pay $17.3 billion as part of a national settlement over their alleged roles in the opioid crisis, according to Seeking Alpha.
Walgreens Boots Alliance also agreed to pay $500M to the State of New Mexico to settle litigation stemming from how it handled prescriptions for opioids in that state.
And last month, Walgreens Boots Alliance reportedly reached a tentative settlement with consumers in Arizona and California who purchased Theranos blood tests at the drug store chain, according to Bloomberg. The consumers said the company was “willfully blind” to the fraud that was going on with the blood tests.
THE LARGER TREND
The sale of Walgreens stock was announced as both Option and Optum have presented offers to buy home health, hospice and high-acuity care provider Amedisys. Option’s proposal is valued at $3.6 million while Optum has offered an all-cash deal for $3.26 million.
Optum submitted the unsolicited proposal on May 26 after Option and Amedisys entered into a merger agreement on May 3, according to Amedisys.
The $100 per share all-cash transaction reportedly represents a 26% premium over Amedisys’ most recent closing share price. The Amedisys Board has determined the Optum proposal could reasonably be expected to result in a superior proposal, Amedisys said.
As permitted by the terms of Amedisys’ merger agreement with Option Care Health, Amedisys entered into a confidentiality agreement with Optum on May 30 and is currently engaging in exploratory discussions with Optum while remaining bound by the terms of the merger agreement with Option Care Health.
The merger agreement with Option Care Health does not permit Amedisys to terminate the merger agreement in favor of an alternative transaction, or to enter into any agreements with respect to an alternative transaction, other than a confidentiality agreement, Amedisys said.
Option Care was formerly Walgreens Infusion Services, before it was separated from Walgreens in 2015 in a joint investment partnership with Madison Dearborn and Walgreens Boots Alliance, according to Seeking Alpha. Bioscrip and Option Care merged in 2019, with Walgreens and Madison Dearborn owning 80% of the combined company.