Why Walgreens Boots Alliance Stock Crushed the Market Today

A major sale might be in the offing across the ocean.

Will Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA 5.41%) soon divest one of its name business units?

That might be in the cards, according to a media report published Monday morning. On that possibility, investors loaded up on shares of the sprawling pharmacy-chain operator, sending its stock up more than 5% in price.

A large U.K. asset might be for sale

That report was published before market hours in Bloomberg and stated that Walgreens is moving to engage with potential buyers of its U.K. pharmacy Boots.

Citing unnamed “people familiar with the matter,” Walgreens is collaborating with advisors to hold early-stage talks with a potentially interested party. It has not yet launched a formal sale process. None of those advisors were identified.

This follows a report last December, also published by Bloomberg, that Walgreens revived discussions on a Boots divestment. This came roughly one-and-a-half years after it canceled a planned sale. At that time, according to the financial news agency, Boots could have been valued at roughly 7 billion British pounds ($8.8 billion) in a deal.

When contacted by Bloomberg, an unnamed Walgreens representative refused to comment.

A good time to divest

Walgreens is a company quite clearly in need of a turnaround, and the sale of a major asset would surely help the finances.

The company’s recent quarterly figures have looked rather sickly, not least because of an expensive bet on primary care services. It also made a deep cut of nearly 50% to its quarterly dividend, a move that hardly pleased existing shareholders or drew new investors to the stock.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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