By Nina Mandell
MANHATTAN — Duane Reade, Manhattan's ubiquitous drug store chain, was acquired on Wednesday by Walgreens for $1.1 billion.
That means the nation's largest pharmacy chain is getting larger, but Manhattanites won't have to worry about losing their corner drug store. The company says it will retain the Duane Reade brand for now.
The New York-based chain has 257 stores in the metro area, while Walgreens has 60. Duane Reade had a reported unaudited net sales of $1.8 billion last year, and the highest sales per square foot in the retail drug industry.
“We will continue to be the drugstore New Yorkers turn to, just as Walgreens has been a trusted community pharmacy in other markets for more than 100 years,” Duane Reade Chairman and CEO John A. Lederer said in a press release.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
Duane Reade was founded in 1960 and was named after the two lower Manhattan streets at its first location.
In the deal, Walgreens not only will pay cash, but also assume Duane Reade's debt.
Last year, the company was saved from defaulting by a $125 million infusion from a private equity firm, the New York Times reported.