McKesson closes Uniprix acquisition

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ST. LAURENT, Quebec — McKesson Corp., through its McKesson Canada subsidiary, has finalized its acquisition of Quebec drug chain Uniprix.

Financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. Also on Wednesday, McKesson Canada appointed Proxim president Alain Arel as president of Uniprix and Proxim, effective immediately.

Alain Arel_Uniprix_Proxim_McKesson Canada

Alain Arel

Philippe Duval, president and CEO of Uniprix, will continue in a senior advisory role to ensure a smooth leadership transition, McKesson Canada said. Individual pharmacies will remain independently owned and continue to operate under the Uniprix brand.

“Today’s announcement marks a milestone for McKesson Canada, Uniprix and Proxim. Together, we will leverage our shared expertise to deliver better care and value to patients across the province and strengthen independent pharmacy in Quebec,” McKesson Canada president Paula Keays said in a statement.

In the new role, Arel will assume overall leadership of McKesson Canada’s Retail Banner Group segment in Quebec, including Uniprix and Proxim. He will continue to report to Rick Brennan, senior vice president of the Retail Banner Group.

“It is a privilege to take on this exciting new role,” Arel stated. “With McKesson Canada, Uniprix will be able to ensure a positive future for independent pharmacists and continue to be a destination of choice for health care in Quebec.”

McKesson announced the Uniprix acquisition in April, and Uniprix shareholders gave the green light to the deal in May.

“This is a positive step towards ensuring long-term, sustainable success for Uniprix owners,” Duval commented. “Alain Arel brings deep knowledge of the retail pharmacy sector in Quebec and a proven track record of delivering results to independent pharmacy owners.”

Operating under a franchise model, Uniprix has a retail network of more than 330 pharmacies across Quebec under the Uniprix, Uniprix Clinique and Uniprix Santé banners. Proxim, one of six banners owned by McKesson Canada, has more than 265 pharmacies in Quebec.

The purchase of Uniprix marks the second large chain drug acquisition by McKesson Canada over the past year. In late December, McKesson Canada closed a $2.1 billion (U.S.) deal to buy Rexall Health.

The addition of Uniprix’s pharmacies will make McKesson Canada the largest drug store operator in Quebec, topping the Jean Coutu Group, whose retail network has 419 stores in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario.

McKesson Canada is Canada’s largest drug store operator, with about 2,500 pharmacy locations across Canada, including Rexall and Uniprix stores.


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