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Merlo’s talent will help CVS grow

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The news that Larry Merlo is taking the helm at CVS Caremark was expected, but that doesn’t take away from its significance.

(THE NEWS: Merlo to assume CEO role at CVS Caremark. For the full story, click here)

Since beginning his career in chain pharmacy in 1978 with People’s Drug (which CVS acquired in 1990), Merlo has become an operations guru who wrote the book on successfully integrating acquisitions.

The chain hasn’t always been the healthcare mammoth it is today and, over the years, has grown largely through acquisitions. The list includes 2,000 stores from Revco, 240 stores from Arbor Drugs, some 1,260 Eckerd stores, 700 stand-alone Sav-on and Osco drug stores from Albertsons and, more recently, Longs Drug Stores’ 521 retail locations in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona, as well as its pharmacy benefit management services.

That’s not to mention the acquisitions of retail-clinic operator MinuteClinic and pharmacy benefit manager Caremark.

Today, the company not only has revenues approaching $100 billion but its network of some 7,100 retail locations looks like one cohesive unit; clearly, a significant portion of that success can be attributed to the talents of Merlo.

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‘Conviction’ makes Blu-ray, DVD debut

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES — The true story of a woman’s 18-year quest to clear the name of her wrongly accused brother is arriving at retail Feb. 1 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

"Conviction," starring Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, tells the story of Betty Ann Waters (played by Swank), a high-school dropout that attends law school to seek justice for her brother (Rockwell) and to appeal his conviction.

Both Blu-ray and DVD formats of the film feature a behind-the-scenes interview with the real Betty Ann Waters. "Conviction" will retail for $39.99 (Blu-ray) and $29.98 (DVD).

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Pfizer one step closer to completing King acquisition

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Pfizer has cleared one of the main legal hurdles in its effort to purchase drug maker King Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer said Friday.

Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company, said the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 had been terminated, one of the conditions necessary for the completion of Pfizer’s tender offer for King.

Pfizer announced plans in October to purchase Bristol, Tenn.-based King for $3.6 billion, or $14.25 per share.

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