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Boots owner reacts to Amazon threat with investment in Chinese firm GuoDa

Walgreens Boots Alliance has reacted to a tanking share price in the wake of Amazon’s entry to the pharmacy market by acquiring a stake in Chinese pharmacy firm GuoDa.

Boots’ share price plummeted by 10% last week following the announcement Amazon had acquired medicine delivery company Pillpack.

In what is seen as an effort to shore up its position against the Amazon challenge, Walgreens acquired a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores (GuoDa) through a capital increase worth RMB2.767 billion (around £314m). It will account for the stake as an equity method investment.

GuoDa operates more than 3,800 retail pharmacies across around 70 cities, and employs close to 20,000 people.

Executive vice chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina, said: “We are delighted that we have received regulatory approvals and our investment agreement has now been completed. We believe GuoDa holds a strong position in the sector, and as a global pharmacy-led health and beauty enterprise, we are well positioned to support its further growth ambition.

“We are looking forward to sharing our international best practices and pharmacy expertise. We believe there is great potential in working together to play a transforming role in the evolving Chinese retail pharmacy market.”

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