Market mayhem halts Boots sale amid growing economic uncertainty

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Walgreens Boots Alliance, which put Boots up for sale in January, insisted it had received “significant interest” from prospective buyers.

But it said that since then, global financial markets had suffered “unexpected and dramatic change”.

Walgreens said the impact on the availability of financing meant no suitor was able to make an offer that “adequately reflects the high potential value” of Boots and the No7 Beauty Company offshoot.

Initial reports had suggested Walgreens was looking to get as much as £8billion.

One of the last bidders was Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s firm Reliance Industries, which was working with US buyout firm Apollo Global Management.

Among others linked were Blackburn-born brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa, who last year bought Asda for £6.8billion.

The sale withdrawal came as private equity bidders faced cash challenges, with banks wary of underwriting large chunks of financing.

Walgreens chief executive Rosalind Brewer said: “The board and I remain confident that Boots holds strong fundamental value.”

Longer-term we will stay open to all opportunities to maximize shareholder value for these businesses.”

Shop prices are rising at the fastest rate for 14 years, figures out today reveal.

The British Retail Consortium said shop price inflation picked up from 2.8 percent in May to 3.1 percent this month – the highest since September 2008.

Retailers are increasingly passing on more of the surge in their own costs, including oil prices, shipping and wages.

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