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Alliance Data to buy Bon-Ton’s credit card portfolio

BY Marianne Wilson

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems has agreed to acquire The Bon-Ton Stores’ private-label credit card portfolio worth $475 million.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Alliance Data, which provides private-label credit card services to retailers, will also manage the retailer’s private-label credit card program.

Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., operates 272 stores in 23 states across the Northeast, Midwest, and upper Great Plains, under a variety of banners.

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Bret Michaels brings rocker style to PetSmart

BY CSA STAFF

PHOENIX — Multi-platinum rock star Bret Michaels has partnered with PetSmart to launch a line of pet products. Available exclusively at PetSmart stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and online at www.PetSmart.com, the collection includes toys, beds, apparel, collars, leashes, and bowls.

“I know there are other pet parents like me who want to show off their pets in rock-star style,” said Michaels. “I’ve been a pet lover since I was a child so I created this line for everyone who wants something unique to rock their pets’ world.”

Products include:

Bret Michaels Pets Rock Tour Bus with Hide and Seek Toys: This plush tour bus is rock-worthy with a bold flame design and holds hide-and-seek plush figures so pets can have fun looking for Bret’s entourage.

Bret Michaels Pets Rock Cuddler Bed: It’s soft for snuggling yet edgy with its faux grommet trim and a skull patch “tattoo”.

Bret Michaels Pets Rock Thorn-Embossed Leather Collar and Leash: This tough-looking collar and leash (sold separately) have embossed thorn and vine detailing with red stitching.

Bret Michaels Pets Rock Skull Sundress and Bret Michaels Pets Rock Outlaw Tee: Designed for your canine’s inner rock star, your pet will have style and swagger to spare in either a skull-patterned sundress – a fun, party-style outfit decked out with a belt accessory and silver studs – or a tee that shows a dog’s wild side with a “Rebel American Outlaw” slogan printed over a faded American-flag backdrop.

”Partnering with Bret Michaels allows us to offer pet parents unique products that are reflective of their pets’ personalities,” said Laurie Taylor, VP hardgoods merchandising for PetSmart. “The rocker vibe of the Bret Michaels Pets Rock collection extends PetSmart’s assortment of exclusive products, adding yet another one-of-a-kind option for pet parents.”

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Walgreens, Alliance Boots merger creates global retail pharmacy player

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Alliance Boots took the first step in creating what will be the first and largest global retail pharmacy player, the two companies announced Tuesday. "This creates an opportunity for us together to create an international expansion platform," Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson told reporters and analysts early Tuesday morning.

Alliance Boots is a U.K.-based international, pharmacy-led health and beauty group that operates 3,330 retail businesses in 11 countries.

Beyond marrying two iconic health brands, the Walgreens-Boots alliance creates a retail pharmacy operations with much broader economies of scale with an opportunity to cross-pollinate brands — including Boots’ No7 and Walgreens’ Delish — across new markets. "We’re going to bring the two [retail] brands together to create the first global pharmacy-led healthcare platform," Wasson said. "We’ll become a supply chain unmatched in the world," he said.

"I had always believed that our industry needed a global player," commented Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of Alliance Boots. "I have tried to do this deal … for 10 years. And I’ve spoke to a lot of people and they were not very receptive," Pessina said. "And finally when we had begun our discussions with Greg, we understood each other and we saw the big picture and we are here. And you will see that this company will develop far beyond the U.S."

Looking down the path of where a Walgreens/Boots combination will lead, both Wasson and Pessina identified further expansion into new emerging markets, including China, Turkey, North Africa and Egypt.

The two companies together will be:

  • The global leader in pharmacy-led, health and well-being retail with more than 11,000 stores in 12 countries;

  • The largest global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution network with over 370 distribution centers delivering to more than 170,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals in 21 countries;

  • The world’s largest purchaser of prescription drugs and many other health and wellbeing products.

Walgreens will invest approximately $6.7 billion in cash and stock (comprised of $4 billion in cash and 83.4 million shares) in exchange for a 45% equity ownership stake in Alliance Boots. Walgreens will have the option to proceed to a full combination by acquiring the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots in approximately three years’ time. At the current Walgreens share price and at a $1.55=£1 exchange rate, the second step of the transaction would be valued at approximately $9.5 billion in cash and stock, plus the assumption of Alliance Boots then-outstanding debt.

Completion of the initial investment, which is subject to various regulatory approvals, is expected to take place by Sept. 1, 2012.

Upon the completion of Walgreens initial investment in Alliance Boots, Wasson; Wade Miquelon, Walgreens EVP and CFO; Thomas Sabatino, Walgreens EVP and general counsel; and Robert Zimmerman, Walgreens SVP and chief strategy officer, will join the Alliance Boots board of directors. In addition, Pessina and Dominic Murphy, Boots director will join the Walgreens board of directors.

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Walgreens net earnings per diluted share in the first year following completion of the initial step of the transaction, by approximately 23 cents to 27 cents, excluding one-time transaction costs. Walgreens expects combined synergies across both companies to be between $100 million and $150 million in the first year and $1 billion by the end of 2016.

Alliance Boots is a leading international, pharmacy-led health and beauty group delivering a range of products and services to customers.
Pharmacy-led health and beauty retailing

Alliance Boots, including our associates and joint ventures, has pharmacy-led health and beauty retail businesses in 11 countries, each focused on helping people look and feel their best.

Together with our associates and joint ventures, we operate more than 3,330 health and beauty retail stores, of which just over 3,200 have a pharmacy.

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