Walgreens submits letter to Longs board of directors urging merger talks
DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens this week has expressed its disappointment with the Longs Drug Stores board of directors for refusing to discuss details of a merger proposed by Walgreens in August.
In particular, the Walgreens letter refutes Longs’ claims that WAG would not be willing “to accept the inherent regulatory risks in connection with an acquisition of Longs.” Walgreens’ letter contests that the company is prepared to take on risks of the merger and has moved forward in obtaining the needed approvals for acquisition, such as approval from the Federal Trade Commission and support from Walgreens’ real estate representatives, experienced, Chicago-based Klaff Realty, to assist in ironing out any redevelopment or management issues relating to the properties.
Also, Walgreens asserted that Longs in previous talks has overstated potential regulatory concerns, and claimed that a Walgreens/Longs merger would result in a company with holdings of about 35 percent of retail pharmacy business in metropolitan U.S. markets.
Finally, Walgreens argued that its buyout offer of $75 per share in cash would be preferable to stockholders over CVS Caremark’s offer of $71.50 per share. In closing statements, WAG said that if Longs remained unwilling to discuss the details of a merger, it would take its offer directly to Longs stockholders.
Walgreens security expert testifies as Congress mulls retail crime bills
ALEXANDRIA, Va. The federal government should crack down harder on organized criminal activity against retailers with stiffer penalties and tougher oversight, a Walgreens representative told Congress today.
Addressing the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Walgreens security expert Frank Muscato discussed the growing problem of organized retail theft and its impact on chain drug stores. His testimony came as Congress mulls three bills aimed at combating organized retail crime, or ORC.
“ORC is an extremely sophisticated and coordinated crime,” Muscato told the House panel. “It involves highly structured organizations and gangs that hire and control teams of thieves to steal merchandise in large quantities.
“The legislation currently being considered would make ORC a federal criminal offense, which would be extremely helpful in prosecuting more of these large, multi-jurisdictional cases,” Muscato added. “ORC is not garden variety shoplifting. It is organized crime and should be treated as such with stronger penalties and enforcement.”
Organized crime drains more than $30 billion a year from retail business, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, resulting in increased costs for merchants, higher prices for consumers, and lost tax revenue for state and local governments. “These crimes are perpetrated by sophisticated crime rings that often use the proceeds to fund other criminal activity,” NACDS noted.
The hearing examined three bills that would combat organized retail crime: H.R. 6713, the “E-fencing Enforcement Act of 2008;” H.R. 6491, the “Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008;” and S. 3434, the “Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008.” The E-fencing Enforcement Act was introduced by Rep. Robert Scott [D-Va.], chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
“Organized retail crime drains businesses, harms consumers, and sustains illegal activities that jeopardize public safety,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson. “We applaud Chairman Scott and his colleagues for their commitment to stopping this growing problem.”
NACDS is a member of the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime, established to address the large-quantity theft and re-selling of products such as infant formula, over-the-counter medicines, health and beauty aids, razor blades, batteries and electronics through flea markets, pawn shops, small retail establishments, and online auction sites.
Bartell Drugs to offer vaccination program
SEATTLE In preparation for the flu season, Bartell Drugs has announced the launch of a vaccination program that includes in-store vaccinations, pre-paid FluGram cards and a new program targeting businesses.
The 56-store chain kicks off, on Oct. 1, a schedule of more than 70 in-store vaccination clinics. In addition to clinics, many stores are offering shots by appointment or on a walk-in basis. Cost for the shots is $28 and Medicare Part B is accepted.
Bartell is also the exclusive Puget Sound partner with Novartis Vaccines to offer FluGram, a pre-paid gift card that allows patient to reserve influenza vaccinations before and during the influenza season. The FluGram gift cards are available for $28 at all Bartell locations in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.
The FluGram program is designed to make influenza vaccination more convenient and accessible. Vaccinations will be administered by a Bartell pharmacist between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. The FluGram gift card reserves an influenza vaccination for adults (and children aged 14 to 17, with parent approval) and is valid through Dec. 31, 2008.
For the first time, the pharmacy retailer has launched a flu vaccination program for businesses and groups. Employers may take advantage of the FluGram program, providing the pre-paid vaccination cards to employees and encouraging them to visit a Bartell location on their own. As part of the initiative, the retailer has implemented a “turn-key,” on-site flu shot clinic for groups of 25 or more, including businesses and senior facilities, where Bartell’s pharmacists come to the workplace. Discounts are available depending on the number of employees.
“This is a way for businesses, large and small, to decrease sick time and lost productivity,” stated Wade Schutze, pharmacy district manager at Bartell. “Getting vaccinated against influenza also helps protect those around you who may be at higher risk from complications.”