Walgreens – Boots deal not a tax ruse

Boots the chemist has been snapped up by US retailer Walgreens. There had been some comment that the objective was for Walgreens to relocate out of the US on tax grounds – but the way this deal is structured, that’s not apparently possible. The non-US company being acquired, in this case Boots, would need to own at least 20% of the merged company – which it doesn’t in this instance.

As it is, President Obama has been signalling a crackdown on so-called “tax inversion” so this could be construed as something of a victory for him. It’s also worth mentioning that 200,000 people in the US signed an online petition claiming they would boycott Walgreens if it relocated out of its home country. 

Had Walgreens been able to move HQ – it could have chosen between Nottingham, UK or Switzerland, where Alliance Boots is headquartered. Instead it looks set to remain in Deerfield, Illinois.  

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