Walgreens Opens Wide, Swallows Up Duane Reade

Anyone who’s lived in — or even visited — New York City is familiar with Duane Reade Pharmacies, the only business that competes with Starbuck in terms of retail space in the five boroughs. And, as a New Yorker, I know it’s a love-hate relationship with the local chain. But the era of a Duane Reade on every corner in Manhattan may be coming to an end with the announcement this morning that Illinois-based drugstore giant Walgreens is in the process of buying Duane Reade out.

As part of the $1.1. billion cash deal, Walgreens will acquire all 257 Duane Reade stores in the New York City area, its offices and distribution centers, and the company’s debt.

“Duane Reade is a compelling strategic acquisition that will immediately provide Walgreens with a leading position in the largest drugstore market in the United States,” Walgreens chief executive and president Greg Wasson explained. “The transaction is consistent with the capital allocation objectives we outlined last fall, which included investing in strategic opportunities that reinforce the company’s core strategies and meet return requirements.”

The deal, which is pending approval, is expected to close before the end of Walgreens’ current fiscal year on Aug. 31.

New Yorkers, feel free to wax nostalgiac and share your favorite Duane Reade memory with us.

Walgreens to buy rival drugstore Duane Reade [CNN]