Boots climbs on rumours of private-equity bid

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The Independent Online

Shares in Boots rose 3 per cent yesterday as speculation mounted that private-equity groups are stalking the struggling health and beauty retailer.

Shares in Boots rose 3 per cent yesterday as speculation mounted that private-equity groups are stalking the struggling health and beauty retailer.

At least four potential bidders, including CVC Capital Partners and Texas Pacific, which own Debenhams, are understood to be running their slide rules over the group.

The timeframe for a potential takeover bid shortened this week after Boots announced the surprise sale of its £1bn-plus healthcare arm. Without the non-prescriptions medicine business, Boots is a less attractive takeover target, analysts said.

Boots shares jumped 19p, topping the FTSE 100 leaderboard at 634.5p as the City estimated that any financial buyer would have to bid at least 700p per share for the company. Cinven and Blackstone are also thought to be weighing up bids for the group.

Analysts at Lehman Brothers said the company's management was attempting to "execute a strategy with all the hallmarks of an 'LBO' [leveraged buyout] in the public arena against the backdrop of a hefty operational downgrade."

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