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Walgreens to take over 270-plus Rite Aid NY stores in deal

Customers walk toward an entrance to a Walgreens

Customers walk toward an entrance to a Walgreens store location, in Boston on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Credit: AP

More than 270 Rite Aids in New York State will become Walgreens stores under terms of a new deal the companies announced Tuesday.

Walgreens and Rite Aid, the nation’s largest and third-largest drugstore chains respectively, said they have finally devised a plan that will get past antitrust regulators.

The companies said they have Federal Trade Commission clearance for a slimmer version of a store-purchase agreement announced in June. Walgreens will now spend $4.38 billion on 1,932 Rite Aid stores, three distribution centers and inventory.

Walgreens will convert the acquired stores, which are primarily in the Northeast and South, to the Walgreens brand over time.

Rite Aid currently has 595 stores in New York, including 67 on Long Island. In an SEC filing, the company said it expects to have 322 in the state after Walgreens takes its share of stores.

Rite Aid didn’t say how many stores it plans to operate on Long Island after the merger. A spokeswoman said the company is “not sharing a specific store list at this time.”

Walgreens now operates 44 stores on Long Island. It also owns 12 Duane Reade pharmacies here.

In an earlier version of the deal, Walgreens had planned to spend about $5.18 billion on 2,186 Rite Aid stores. That deal marked a step down from Walgreens’ initial plan to take over Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid Corp. for $9.4 billion. That plan spent a couple of years in regulatory review before the companies abandoned it.

Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. says the latest deal should be completed by spring.

Rite Aid said it will use proceeds from the sale to reduce debt and strengthen its balance sheet. The company will be left with approximately 2,600 stores, six distribution centers and its pharmacy benefit manager.

Walgreens currently operates more than 13,200 stores worldwide, including nearly 8,200 drugstores in the United States and the Caribbean. — With AP

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