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In the UK, the Telegraph reports that Walgreen is expected to acquire the 55 percent of British retailer Alliance Boots that it does not yet own; it has an option to buy the rest of the company between February and August 2015.

According to the story, "The deal is attractive to Illinois-based Walgreens because it would enable the business to move its tax domicile to either the UK or Switzerland, making annual savings of billions of dollars." (The US corporate tax rate is 37.5 percent, compared to 20 percent in the UK.) Walgreen, the story says, "is reportedly accelerating the full takeover option following pressure from a cabal of activist hedge fund investors, including the US funds Och Ziff, Jana Partners and Corvex, who have amassed a 5 percent stake in Alliance Boots in recent months."
KC's View:
Got a lot of email from MNB readers when the possibility first came to light that Walgreen could move its HQ to Europe to save on taxes … mostly from folks who said they would then begin shopping at an American retailer like CVS, or local options. Don;t know how widespread this would be, but they have to take this into account in the decision-making process.