Alliance-Boots opens books for KKR and CC

Slaughter and May client Alliance-Boots will open its books to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) now that the private equity house has upped its offer for the high street giant by 40p per share.

KKR, which is backing a management buyout of Alliance-Boots by its deputy chairman and largest individual shareholder Stefano Pessina, has upped its offer to £10.40 per share after its initial offer was rebuffed. The new bid values the company at £10bn.

As first reported by The Lawyer (12 March), KKR is being advised by Clifford Chance, while Macfarlanes and French firm Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier are advising Pessina.

KKR is also one of the private equity houses in the consortium represented by Clifford Chance that is currently mulling an offer for Linklaters client J Sainsbury, the UK’s third-largest supermarket.

The new Alliance-Boots offer is still subject to due diligence and recommendation by its board, but given that Italian billionaire Pessina knows the company so well, analysts are predicting that it will be undertaken swiftly and with no surprises.

The offer follows the release of a trading statement on 28 March, which Alliance-Boots denied was a defence document. The statement predicted growth of 1.6 per cent and outlined a £65m rebranding, the company’s largest-ever programme of its kind.