FINANCE

Report: Walgreens may accelerate Alliance purchase

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield, Ill. – The Walgreens Co. is reportedly considering making a purchase offer for U.K.-based drugstore chain Alliance Boots. Walgreens, which owns 45% of the company, has an option to purchase the remaining 55% between February and August 2015, but according to The Telegraph may try to make an offer even sooner.

A group of activist investors including Och Zif, Jana Partners and Corvex has been urging Walgreens to fully purchase Alliance Boots for the purposes of moving its headquarters from the U.S. to either the U.K., or Switzerland. Both those countries have a corporate tax rate far lower than the 37.5% charged in the U.S. Walgreens reportedly will offer about $17.7 billion for the remaining share of Alliance Boots.

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OPERATIONS

CVS introduces social responsibility strategy

BY Dan Berthiaume

Woonsocket, R.I. – CVS Caremark has introduced a new corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy called “Prescription for a Better World” as part of its 2013 CSR report. Prescription for a Better World includes goals such as access to affordable health care; the environmental impacts of its operations, including those contributing to climate change; product stewardship; patient safety; employee engagement and workplace inclusion; and the safe disposal of prescription drugs.

To specifically meet some of those goals, in 2013 CVS decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores by Oct. 1. Other highlights in the report include an update on the company’s progress against its 15% carbon intensity reduction goal by 2018, which it is on track to reach; a stronger focus on product stewardship and evaluating and removing certain ingredients; and engaging employees in more diversity programs, as well as health-and-wellness initiatives.

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FINANCE

Sears Canada sells minority stake in Quebec shopping center

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto – Sears Canada Inc. has entered into an agreement for the sale of its 15% minority ownership interest in the Centre commercial Les Rivières shopping centre in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, for $33.5 million. Ivanhoé Cambridge, who holds the center in a joint arrangement with Sears Canada, is purchasing the 15% interest that it does not already own from Sears.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is scheduled to close on June 2. Sears will continue to operate its department store in the shopping center, and Ivanhoé Cambridge will continue to manage the property. This transaction will have no effect on associates employed at the store, nor on the operation of the store.

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