Issa brothers are frontrunners in £7bn race to buy Boots

Issa brothers are frontrunners in £7bn race to buy Boots

EG Group owners, the Issa brothers, are frontrunners in a £7bn bidding war to acquire high street stalwart Boots.

Billionaires Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who own Asda and the EG Group, are top the list to take over the high street health and beauty stores.

If successful, they would be adding a further 2,200 stores in high streets and shopping centres to their expansive business catalogue.

The would-be buyers will be meeting with Boots bosses this week about any sale.

Boots, which employs 50,000 people, is currently owned by US-based company Walgreens Boots Alliance, which unveiled a ‘strategic review’ of the pharmacy chain in January.

The brothers, who also own Cooplands Bakery and have been attempting to acquire Caffé Nero, are reportedly competing against a host of private equity firms including TDR Capital, with whom they purchased Asda from Walmart in a £6.8 billion deal.

Apollo – which recently saw its bid to takeover supermarket Morrisons snubbed – and Sycamore Partners, who own Staples, are also in the running to buy 172-year-old company, founded in Nottingham by John Boot.

Previously interested bidders Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners have already dropped out.

Currently owned by American company Walgreens, the sale of the chain of chemists led shops is reportedly going ahead in an auction process by Goldman Sachs.