KKR in strategic purchase of German drugs distributor

Buyout firm KKR has bought German drugs distributor Anzag with the aim of giving British pharmacy chain Alliance Boots access to the European market, according to reports. KKR, which already had 30 percent of Anzag through Alliance Boots, increased that stake to 80 percent. Anzag is one of the three biggest firms in the EUR 24 billion ($31 billion) German drugs distribution market.

(Reuters) – Buyout company KKR has acquired a majority stake in German drugs distributor Anzag, giving KKR’s British unit Alliance Boots access to Europe’s largest pharma market, a report in a German daily said.

KKR’s unit Alliance Boots, which already held a stake of just under 30 percent in Anzag, has acquired the stakes of co-shareholders Sanacorp, Phoenix and Celesio, Stuttgarter Zeitung said on Saturday quoting unnamed industry sources.

That would boost the stake of Alliance Boots in Anzag to 80 percent.

The deal is to be announced at the start of next week, the paper said. Anzag and Alliance Boots were not immediately available for comment.

KKR has long trained its sights on the German wholesale pharmaceuticals distribution market. Its approach is seen as a renewed interest in the sector, which is set to grow due to the country’s ageing population.

Alliance Boots Executive Chairman Stefano Pessina, who teamed up with KKR to buy the group for about 11 billion pounds ($17.10 billion) in 2007, said in May that he aimed to build Boots into a global brand.

Anzag, whose full name is Andreae-Noris Zahn AG, is among the three largest players in the 24 billion euros ($31 billion) German drugs distribution market.

With its free float of just 8.4 percent and market value of less than 260 million euros, Anzag is too small to be included in a stock market index. (Reporting by Nicola Leske; editing by Keiron Henderson)