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Walgreens names JANA Partners founder to board

BY Michael Johnsen

 

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday announced the appointment of Barry Rosenstein, managing partner JANA Partners, and a second new director to be named to its board of directors as the company continues moving forward to complete its merger with Alliance Boots.
 
“We are pleased to welcome Barry to the board in this pivotal moment for our company as we anticipate the completion of the Walgreens-Alliance Boots merger, establish an efficient global platform for pharmacy-led health and wellbeing, and launch a new generation of growth and value creation,” stated James Skinner, chairman of the Walgreens board of directors. “We look forward to the experience and new perspectives he will bring to the board and company as we launch Walgreens Boots Alliance.”
 
“We are very pleased to welcome Barry to the board,” Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and chief executive officer, said. “Barry’s experience and expertise in building shareholder value on behalf of companies will be important as we establish Walgreens Boots Alliance and carry out our Next Chapter plan for long-term growth and value creation. He will add tremendous value to our board and help drive value for shareholders.”
 
Rosenstein is the founder and managing partner of JANA Partners, an event-driven hedge fund located in New York with in excess of $11 billion in investments and commitments which focuses on companies with a compelling valuation and catalysts to realize value. Rosenstein graduated from Lehigh University Phi Beta Kappa and earned an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
 
“I look forward to serving as a voice for all shareholders in joining the Walgreens board,” Rosenstein said. “I am eager to work constructively with Greg, Stefano Pessina and the entire Walgreens board to help unlock greater value for shareholders and to help realize the exceptional future for these two iconic companies as they come together and move ahead.”
 
In connection with Rosenstein’s election, Walgreens entered into a nomination and support agreement with JANA Partners, which, among other things, provides for the appointment of an additional independent director recommended by JANA Partners and agreed to by Walgreens, and that if there is a vacancy which the Walgreens board chooses to fill during the term of the agreement, such replacement director will be mutually agreed to by the company and JANA Partners. 
 
Walgreens also announced that it plans to hold an investor day shortly after the consummation of the Alliance Boots merger to give investors greater insight into the company’s financial outlook, business strategy and capital structure. Details will be provided closer to the date of the event.

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Annies shakes up frozen-food aisle with pizza party

BY Ryan Chavis

BERKELEY, Calif. — Annie's launched two new frozen-food options in an effort to provide consumers with a healthier snacking alternative. 
 
Annie's Pizza Poppers come in three bite-sized varieties: Three Cheese Pizza Poppers; Uncured Pepperoni Pizza Poppers; and Combination Pizza Poppers. All varieties contain 7 g of protein per serving and can be prepared in a microwave or oven. 
 
Annie's Mini Pizza Bagels also are available in three different varieties: Three Cheese Mini Pizza Bagels; Uncured Pepperoni Mini Pizza Bagels; and Combination Mini Pizza Bagels. The bagels pack 10 g of protein per serving and also can be easily prepared in a microwave or oven. 
 
The pizza poppers carry a suggested retail price of $3.99, while the pizza bagels are available for a SRP of $4.99. The products currently are available at Target stores across the country. 
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FDA grants accelerated approval to Merck’s Keytruda

BY Ryan Chavis

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck on Thursday announced that the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma. An improvement in survival or disease-related symptoms hasn't been established yet, but the tumor response rate and durability response prompted the agency to grant accelerated approval, the company said. 
 
Keytruda is the first anti-PD-1 (programmed death receptor-1) therapy approved in the United States, according to the company. The drug consists of a humanized monoclonal antibody that increases the ability for the patient's immune system to fight advanced melanoma. 
 
“Keytruda embodies Merck’s unwavering commitment to pursue breakthrough science to help people who are facing the most challenging diseases,” said Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO, Merck. “We are grateful to the people with advanced melanoma who participated in our trials, and the scientific and medical community for the shared effort that has led to the accelerated approval of Keytruda.”
 
Merck plans to make the drug available within one week following the FDA's approval. 
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