The purchase of Rite Aid by Walgreens Boots Alliance for $17.2 billion, announced October 27, will make the combined company the largest drug store chain in the country, surpassing CVS Pharmacy, which operates 7,800 retail and specialty drug stores nationwide. The all-cash deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016.
Based in Camp Hill, Pa., near Harrisburg, Rite Aid currently operates about 4,600 stores in 31 states and Washington, DC. Both Walgreens and Rite Aid have a large presence in the Greater Philadelphia area with about 100 stores each. CVS operates about 185 stores in the region.
Rite Aid will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Illinois-based Walgreens Boot Alliance, but it is expected to operate under its existing brand name for the time being.
As with any major merger in which competition is eliminated, the question is: "What will be the impact be on the customer?" That remains to be seen.