Walgreens acquires Drugstore.com

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Walgreens has agreed to acquire online pharmacy retailer Drugstore.com for $409 million, the drug store chain said March 24.

Drugstore.com will continue to operate independently in the near term, though Walgreens plans to eventually make it “easily accessible through Walgreens.com and vice versa,” said Michael Polzin, divisional VP for corporate communications at Walgreens. No timetable was determined for the site integrations, he said.

“There's a lot of brand equity in the Drugstore.com URL,” he said. “You can't get more of a natural fit for us than the Drugstore.com [web address].”

The acquisition will help Walgreens e-commerce operation by giving it access to Drugstore.com's more than 3 million customers.

Dawn Lepore, Drugstore.com CEO and chairman, will report directly to Walgreen's president of e-commerce, Sona Chawla. The rest of Drugstore.com's management will be integrated into Walgreen's e-commerce division, said Walgreens. Drugstore.com's Bellevue, Wash., headquarters will remain open.

The acquisition could result in layoffs, though Polzin stressed there would be few, if any.

“We don't anticipate any significant job losses,” he said. “If there are, there won't be a substantial number. This acquisition is not about reducing costs. It's about revenue synergies.”

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of June.

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