Walgreens eyes pharmacy divest
Walgreens is mulling a sale of its pharmacy automation business iA, which could fetch up to $2 billion, Bloomberg reports.
Why it matters: The future of pharmacy services is murky, with Walgreens, CVS and Amazon all pursuing disparate strategies.
Details: Walgreens is working with advisers and expects to launch a process next month, per Bloomberg.
- Indianapolis-based iA offers automation software solutions helping pharmacies fill prescriptions.
Catch up fast: Walgreens took a majority stake in iA from a consortium of PE firms for $451 million in 2021.
State of play: Walgreens, CVS and Amazon have made clear their intent to own primary care. Their strategies around pharmacy are less obvious.
- CVS just acquired MedAvail's SpotRx pharmacies in certain cities in Arizona, California and Florida, seeming to double down on its commitment.
- Meanwhile, Amazon has made piecemeal moves, initially disrupting the industry with its $750 million acquisition of PillPack in 2018 and this week launching RxPass, a monthly prescription drug pass.
What they're saying: Antonio Ciaccia, a pharmacy sector analyst and the CEO of research firm 46brooklyn, called a possible iA divest "a surprising move."
- Automation has become increasingly important in pharmacy, and there's value to owning the asset in-house, Ciaccia says.
- "Especially given some of the internal issues Walgreens and all pharmacy chains have had related to staffing, it would seem that this would be a need rather than something to sell off," he continues.
Walgreens declined to comment.