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‘Tremendous change afoot’ for Walgreens Boots Alliance, board member says

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 
 
NEW YORK — The buzz around what Walgreens Boots Alliance may or may not acquire in the coming days will come to a head tomorrow, many believe, as the company hosts its first analyst day as a merged entity. 
 
On Monday, Barry Rosenstein, managing partner of JANA Partners and Walgreens Boots Alliance board member, hinted that Walgreens Boots Alliance may be pulling the trigger on an acquisition in the U.S. sooner than later in an exclusive interview with CNBC. "The Walgreens situation is terrific," he told CNBC. "There's tremendous change afoot. There's opportunities on the cost side; there's opportunities on the capital allocation side; and there's strategic opportunities. I think you're going to see this company continue to do some pretty exciting things."
 
"WBA's willingness to pursue horizontal and/or vertical M&A represents an encouraging signal in our view, as it's clear new management recognizes the challenges of its current market position and plans to more aggressively improve its strategic outlook," stated Ed Kelly, Credit Suisse research analyst, in a note published Monday. "A horizontal drug retail deal – the first option highlighted by management – clearly makes sense. That being said, the evolving healthcare landscape opens the door to other attractive options," he suggested. "We believe a large vertical PBM transaction with Express Scripts or a JV with a captive PBM like UNH's Optum could also create value and address issues with the stand-alone drugstore model."
 
Walgreens Boots Alliance will host its 2015 Analyst Day in New York City at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Battery Park on Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern time both days. The first day will include an overview of the company’s operations and strategy from senior leadership of Walgreens Boots Alliance. The second day will consist of a half-day session to review financial performance and provide management’s perspective regarding key financial variables.
 
Follow @DSN_MikeJohnsen on April 15 using hashtag #WBAfuture for up-to-the-minute live tweets of the all-day event. 

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Walmart buying what Waltons are selling

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart’s share price will be under pressure in the coming years as a holding company created decades ago by the Walton family to control their ownership of the company prepares to unload as much as 6% of Walmart’s outstanding shares.
 
The family’s intentions to potentially sell roughly 190 million shares valued at more than $15 billion based on an $80 share price was revealed recently in advance of the company filing its annual proxy statement which is expected to show the percentage of common stock owned by Walton Enterprises, LLC has risen to approximately 50%. The huge ownership position is due in part to the fact that Walmart has spent much of the past decade returning cash to shareholders in the form of dividend payments and stock repurchase activity.
 
During the past three years, Walmart spent roughly $15.3 billion to buy back more than 200 million shares. As the company spent billions buying back hundreds of millions of shares it had the effect of increasing the Walton family’s ownership position.
 
“Given the prospect that Walmart may continue to buy back shares, the Walton family has informed Walmart that it currently expects to sell Walmart shares from time to time in order to help offset possible further increases in its ownership percentage and to help fund charitable contributions,” according to a statement from Walton Enterprises LLC posted on Walmart’s Web site. “The family believes that this is consistent with an appropriate balance of family and non-family ownership that supports the goals of all Walmart shareholders and long term business success.”
 
To facilitate the stock sale, the Walton family informed Walmart of a plan to distribute approximately 6% of Walmart’s outstanding shares to a newly formed entity called the Walton Family Holdings Trust. Unleashing that volume of stock on the open market would create tremendous selling pressure, however the Walton family said it has no set timetable for the sale of shares and anticipated the sales could, “take place over a period of years.”
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SureScripts announces broad implementation of National Record Locator Service

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — Surescripts has announced that it will implement its National Record Locator Service with electronic health record vendors eClinicalWorks, Epic, and Greenway Health, enabling more than 480,000 providers to utilize the technology to locate and exchange patient health records stored in any healthcare location across the country.

The Surescripts National Record Locator Service is a federated query and response solution that integrates into the provider workflow through existing EHR software. The first-of-its-kind capability leverages the Surescripts nationwide network and Master Patient Index of more than 230 million patients to locate and exchange patient records and give clinicians a fast and easy way to obtain a more complete view of a patient’s health history, without relying on a patient’s recollections of their medical history.

“Today marks a major milestone in our collective effort to connect the nation’s healthcare system and enable interoperability between disparate parts of our healthcare community,” stated Tom Skelton, CEO, Surescripts. “By leveraging the assets and existing infrastructure we built for e-prescribing, we are able to quickly scale true interoperability on a national basis to save time and money, and ultimately improve the patient experience.”

The Surescripts network gives providers the ability to find a patient’s records when and where they need it most. With connections between 60,000 pharmacies, 900,000 healthcare professionals, 3,000 hospitals, and 700 EHR applications, more than 7 billion secure, electronic transactions, including prescriptions, referrals, discharges, visit summaries, immunization notifications, and radiology reports, crossed the Surescripts network in 2014.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20% of preventable medical errors are caused by the lack of immediate access to health information, and 1-out-of-7 primary care visits is impacted by missing medical information. Interoperability is defined by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT as the ability of systems to exchange and use electronic health information from other systems without special effort on the part of the user. In order to realize true healthcare IT interoperability, a number of challenges must be overcome, including patient identification, record locating, document sharing, and clinical care documentation.

 

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