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Who's in the running to buy Boots?

By Hannah Finch

Britain's biggest chemist has been up for sale since January as its owner, US giant Walgreens, looks to increase its focus on US healthcare.

Four months on and the battle to buy the 173-year-old business rumbles on.

However, Goldman Sachs, which is advising on the sale, has asked bidders to table final offers for the chemists by May 16, Sky News has reported.

In April, Boots chief executive Seb James stressed that there was 'a lot of interest' in the business amid fears the £7 billion sale was stalling.

And it has been reported that an IPO could still be on the cards if a sale is not completed.

As it stands there are still a number of interested parties reportedly in the running - these include:

Mukesh Ambani

The Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani is interested in buying the high street Boots business, BusinessLive was told in April – having considered, then dropped, a bid for Chelsea FC.

A source said Mr Ambani, who is reported to be the eighth richest man on earth, is keen to build his foothold in the UK, attracted by its transparent regulations.

They said he had looked into buying Chelsea after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the Government over what it said were his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Last November Mr Ambani's Reliance Industries – which has interests in energy, petrochemicals, natural gas, retail, telecommunications, mass media, and textiles – poured cold water on reports it had been plotting a takeover of UK telecoms giant BT.

According to the Financial Times, Reliance is now working with New York-based Apollo on a deal that could see Boots open in India and across Asia.

Issa brothers

The billionaire brothers behind Asda and EG Group were considering a takeover of Boots worth up to £10bn, according to reports in January.

The Blackburn-headquartered retailer, whose brands include Euro Garages, Cooplands and LEON, have since been in the running to rescue convenience store chain McColls but had lost its attempt to rival Morrisons.

The EG Group also acquired almost 300 service stations in Germany for €485m in early May.

Mohsin and Zuber Issa started Euro Garages with a single petrol station in Bury, Greater Manchester, before building it up to form a network of forecourts across the UK.

Who else is interested?

Other bidders who have made pitches include private equity giants TDR Capital and Sycamore, which is also interested in Ted Baker.

Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners, dropped out of a £6billion deal, it was reported in March by The Mirror.

Buyers who are also understood to be interested in the past include investment firm Advent, Carlyle and KKR. KKR owned Boots in the past, before selling it to Walgreens.

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Dive Deeper:
Factbox-Who is running in Lebanon's election?
Lebanon holds a parliamentary election on May 15, with candidates vying for 128 seats that are divided among 11 religious…
Morrisons rescues convenience chain McColl's taking on all 16,000 staff
Final bids had been submitted by Morrisons and EG Group ahead of the Sunday deadline
Morrisons confirms deal to rescue McColl's and save all 16,000 jobs
Final bids had been submitted by Morrisons and EG Group ahead of the Sunday deadline
Retail expert warns more brands may collapse after McColl's rescued by Morrisons
The Issa brothers' EG Group had submitted a bid for the convenience retailer but it was rejected
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Boots issues warning to anybody who has hay fever in the UK
A fifth of adults in the UK suffer from hay fever, experts say
Stock Market Dips As Another Inflation Gauge Rises; Tech And Utilities Lead Declines; Disney Takes A Hit
The stock market dipped Thursday as wholesale inflation rose and Disney took an earnings hit. Retailers led gainers.
Get all your news in one place