Reliance Industries is one of the largest multinational conglomerates in the world and the largest private sector company in India. The industrial giant has robust business units that span multiple verticals, including textiles, power generation, telecommunications, and scientific research, to name a few. The company is a staple in almost Indian homes, sounding familiarly as one of the most dynamic and innovative success stories to emerge from the Indian subcontinent.
In its latest venture, the famed company has its eyes set on a potential new venture: the acquisition of one of the world’s largest pharmacy organizations, Walgreens Boots Alliance. Reuters reported earlier this week that Boots will be sold through an auction process and is believed to be worth almost £8bn.
There are many reasons why Reliance may be interested in an organization like Boots.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is one of the largest drugstore chains in the world and has over 4,000 stores worldwide in 5 countries. It has a particularly impressive presence in the UK; the company notes that “around 86% of the UK population live within 10 minutes of a Boots store”.
In the grand scheme of things, Walgreens is also trying to move beyond standard retail pharmacy services and trying to address more specialized healthcare needs. The company explains, “Our pharmacists are well placed to play an important role in the delivery of healthcare services, working closely with other primary healthcare providers in the communities we serve. […] We continually seek to improve Boots’ position as a trusted pharmaceutical brand and leading provider of health care, advice and beauty services in local communities. We achieve this by providing expert customer service, investing in existing stores, selectively expanding our store portfolio and, increasingly, expanding our omnichannel offering.
Indeed, this is a promising endeavor for Reliance to pursue. The great company Walgreens and its Boots division have undoubtedly created an incredible name and brand recognition factor that instills confidence in community members globally. Additionally, as Walgreens increasingly shifts from simply providing pharmaceutical services to offering more robust health services, affected communities will thrive with easier access points to primary care services.
Retail giants are increasingly adopting this model in the United States. One of Walgreens’ main competitors, CVS Pharmacy, has its own version of primary care services, MinuteClnic. Similarly, Walmart, another famous retail staple, is rapidly expanding its own iteration of primary care through its Care Clinic venture. Indeed, these companies, alongside Walgreens, recognize that their incredible brand recognition and widespread presence can bring significant value and access to care to millions of people.
Congruently, Reliance has always been people-oriented and therefore Walgreens Boots reputation aligns well with the company’s mission. If Reliance is indeed successful with this purchase, the company will certainly attempt to expand WBA more aggressively into the Indian subcontinent. This means that Boots will be able to further penetrate one of the largest and fastest growing healthcare markets in the world, having the potential to serve nearly 1.3 billion people in India. Indeed, if successful, this adventure will undoubtedly be a win-win relationship in the years to come.