Drugstore.com, Veteran of the Dot-Com Bust, Grabbed by Walgreens in $429M Deal

3/24/11Follow @curtwoodward

Bellevue, WA-based drugstore.com is being scooped up by Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, for $429 million in cash. Deerfield, IL-based Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) said it would maintain drugstore.com’s headquarters and a separately branded website. Drugstore.com (NASDAQ: DSCM) presently employs about 1,000 people in its offices, distribution centers and call center.

The acquisition price of $3.80 per share is a 113 percent premium over drugstore.com’s closing price yesterday, the companies said. Walgreens, which is financing the deal with cash on hand, expects it to close at the end of June. Drugstore.com said its board had unanimously approved the sale.

“We believe we have made significant progress over the last six years and built an organization with a broad and deep bench of Internet experience. The opportunity to become a part of Walgreens is the right next step in this journey,” drugstore.com Chairman and CEO Dawn Lepore said in a statement.

Drugstore.com has been hanging around since the days of the dot-com bubble—it was founded in 1998 and began selling online in February 1999. The company rode out the bust and eventually assembled a strong presence online, with more than $456 million in sales last year. Walgreens said it was adding 3 million customers and about 60,000 products in the deal, along with the affiliated sites Beauty.com, SkinStore.com, and VisionDirect.com. Walgreens posted sales of $67 billion in fiscal 2010.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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