Walgreen Co. plans to acquire three Farmacias El Amal stores in Puerto Rico as well as prescription files from 11 other El Amal pharmacies.

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Walgreens to buy three El Amal stores, Rx files

January 22nd, 2010
Walgreens also had acquired 20 Farmacias El Amal stores in early 2008.

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. plans to acquire three Farmacias El Amal stores in Puerto Rico as well as prescription files from 11 other El Amal pharmacies.

The company said Friday that the El Amal locations being purchased are situated at the Rio Grande Shopping Center, the Salinas Shopping Center and Plaza Las Americas. Plans call for the stores to transition to Walgreens by the end of February.

Walgreens said the 11 El Amal pharmacies from which it agreed to purchase prescription files are slated to close by the end of this month. The stores are located in Mayaguez, Ponce, Arecibo, Yauco, Dorado, Rio Piedras, Corozal, Bayamon and Carolina.

According to the company, patients now served by those 11 pharmacies will see notices in the stores and receive letters notifying them of the change, and they will have immediate access to their prescription histories at a nearby Walgreens or any Walgreens store on the Island.

The transaction, terms of which weren't disclosed, remains subject to the approval of the Bankruptcy Court, Walgreens said. The agreement is expected to close in the calendar first quarter of 2010.

After the deal is finalized, Walgreens plans to remerchandise and refresh the acquired stores, adding new signage and displays plus Walgreens brand products and services, including online and digital photo offerings. The company said the store transitions are slated to be completed by this fall.

"Pharmacy is the heart of our business and is a service we take great pride in providing," Nivia Santiago, Puerto Rico market vice president for Walgreens, said in a statement. "This agreement allows us to quickly provide our innovative pharmacy services to more of the Island's population. Lastly, we strongly believe in Puerto Rico's potential for long-term economic growth. We've been a part of Puerto Rico for five decades and have witnessed Puerto Rico's capacity to overcome difficult economic periods."

Walgreens also had acquired 20 of El Amal's 61 stores in a deal announced in January 2008.

The new El Amal deal represents Walgreens' second pharmacy acquisition this month. Just over a week ago, the Deerfied, Ill.-based drug chain unveiled an agreement to buy Snyders Drug Stores' 25 company-owned stores in Minnesota from Katz Group North America.

Walgreens also made a number of fill-in acquisitions in 2009. In late October, the retailer inked a deal to purchase 12 Eaton Apothecary pharmacies in the Boston area from D.A.W. Inc. Earlier, in March, the company announced a deal to buy about 30 stores from Drug Fair in New Jersey and, in February, unveiled an agreement to acquire seven Rite Aid stores in San Francisco and five Rite Aid locations in Idaho.

And in recent years, Walgreens bought Happy Harry's Inc. in Delaware and Medic Drugs in greater Cleveland.