As of Sept. 1, Walgreens and its 8,072 U.S. stores will become AmerisourceBergen's biggest customer, adding about $28 billion in revenue in its fiscal year 2014.
For Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, the agreement is another major step in what it says is an effort to change the global drug and health-care distribution system. In June, Walgreens paid $6.7 billion in cash and stock to buy 45 percent of Alliance Boots GmbH, a European retailer with 3,300 health and beauty stores.
Tuesday's agreement also grants Walgreens and Alliance Boots the right to acquire a minority stake of up to 7 percent in AmerisourceBergen.
News of the deal, released before the stock market opened, was followed by big moves in the stock prices of all three companies involved. Walgreens was the biggest gainer among the Standard & Poor's 500 index companies, closing up 5.4 percent, or $2.31, at $44.74.
AmerisourceBergen, which employs about 1,100 in the Philadelphia area, was the second-biggest gainer, with shares rising 3.6 percent, or $1.76, to $50.06 - a 52-week high.
Shares of Cardinal Health slumped 8.2 percent, or $3.78, to $42.35.
The deal marked the second time in a year AmerisourceBergen has wrested a contract away from the larger Cardinal Health. In July, Express Scripts Inc. picked AmerisourceBergen over Cardinal Health for a three-year deal worth about $18.5 billion in annual revenue.
Contact Mike Armstrong
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