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McKesson finds buyer for divested Rexall drug stores

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OTTAWA — McKesson Corp. is selling 27 Rexall drug stores to Rx Drug Mart Inc. under a consent agreement with the Competition Bureau of Canada for its $2.2 billion acquisition of Rexall Health.

The Competition Bureau said Friday that it has approved Rx Drug Mart, a Toronto-based independent pharmacy network, as the buyer of the divested Rexall stores, located in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

McKesson received clearance for the Rexall transaction from the Competition Bureau last December, at which time the regulator said McKesson must divest pharmacies in 26 Canadian markets. McKesson’s deal with Katz Group Canada Inc. — which includes Rexall Health’s Rexall/Pharma Plus pharmacies, Medicentres Canada and Claimsecure Inc. — was announced in early March.

Rx Drug Mart currently doesn’t operate in any of the 26 communities where the divested stores are located, the Competition Bureau said, adding that it has determined the independent pharmacy network “has the managerial, operational and financial capacity to compete effectively” in those markets.

Plans call for the ownership of the 27 pharmacies to be transferred to Rx Drug Mart from McKesson on a rolling basis between mid-June and Aug. 31.

The Rexall stores being divested are in Athabasca, Banff, Barrhead, Blairmore, Fort MacLeod, High Prairie (two locations) and Jasper, Alberta; Burns Lake, Ladysmith, Sechelt and Vanderhoof, British Columbia; Campbellford, Deep River, Durham, Englehart, Iroquois Falls, Lindsay, Sioux Lookout, Smithville, Stayner, Sturgeon Falls and Wingham, Ontario; Kamsack, Moosomin and Shaunavon, Saskatchewan; and Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

With the acquisition by McKesson, Rexall became part of McKesson Canada. Including the approximately 450 pharmacies from Rexall, McKesson Canada has about 2,150 pharmacy locations across Canada, making it the country’s largest drug store operator, followed by Shoppers Drug Mart, part of Loblaw Cos., with 1,326 stores.

McKesson Canada stands to add another 330 pharmacies under its agreement to acquire Quebec drug chain Uniprix, announced in April. Unprix shareholders approved the acquisition last month. The deal still must be approved by regulators, including the Competition Bureau of Canada and the Superior Court of Quebec, and meet other closing conditions.


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