WBA, the owner of Boots No7 and the Boots health and beauty business, has decided to cancel the auction of the company after potential buyers failed to meet its desired price. The decision to retain ownership of Boots and No7 Beauty Company was driven by buyers’ unwillingness to pay the premium price and the volatile markets, which made it challenging to raise debt-funded cash. Although there was significant interest from prospective buyers and productive discussions took place, no third party was able to make an offer that adequately reflected the businesses’ high potential value.

In the best interests of shareholders, WBA has chosen to focus on the further growth and profitability of Boots and No7 Beauty Company. This decision is supported by the ongoing strong performance and growth of the businesses, which have exceeded expectations despite challenging conditions. Speculations had suggested a sale price of around £7 billion, but potential buyers were only willing to pay £5 billion. It is possible that WBA may still retain a stake in the business as part of a potential future purchase.

Boots holds a dominant position in the UK health and beauty retail sector and benefits from its reputation as one of the country’s most trusted and respected brands. Since being acquired by WBA, the company has received significant investments to strengthen its position. WBA will continue to invest in the future of Boots and No7 Beauty Company, recognizing their unique assets and unparalleled potential.

While Boots has shown improvement in its performance following the pandemic, it continues to face intense competition in the UK market. With a wide network of over 2,000 stores, it needs to invest in modernizing its physical spaces and further developing its online business. Rivals are consistently striving to gain a larger market share, both in the mass-market and higher-end beauty sectors.

Although the auction has been called off for the time being, WBA’s statement indicates the possibility of revisiting the idea of a sale in the future. CEO Rosalind Brewer expresses confidence in the strong fundamental value of Boots and No7 Beauty Company and emphasizes that the company remains open to opportunities that maximize shareholder value.

Useful Links:
1. Boots Official Website
2. WBA Official Website