Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Power plays in the air


walgreen1Check out the power plays going on in the consumer world.

Walgreen said it will buy Duane Reed for $618 million in cash, catapulting the largest U.S. drugstore operator into the top spot in the New York City area. The deal price also includes the assumption of $457 million in debt.

Duane Reed is owned by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners and operates 257 drugstores in the New York metropolitan area. Duane Reade will continue to operate under its brand name, and Walgreen expects to retain the employees at its stores, pharmacies and distribution centers.

Walgreen operates 70 stores in the New York area, including a multi-floor outlet in the heart of Times Square across the street from a Duane Reade store.

Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble told Ronald Burkle to take a long walk off a short pier, saying it would not waive its “poison-pill” anti-takeover provision to allow the billionaire investor to nearly double his stake in the top brick-and-mortar U.S. bookstore chain.