Bidding battle expected for Boots

'Boots the Chemist', Alliance Boots, is considering opening up its books to a potential rival bidder to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), which has offered £10.2 billion (approximately Rs 86,914.2 crore) for the UK based cosmetics and pharmaceuticals retail leader.

UK's largest investor in private equity and Britain's largest charity, The Wellcome Trust and private equity group Terra Firma, which owns the Odeon and UCI cinema houses, are believed to have asked to see the books of Britain's biggest pharmacy chain, while the German owner of the Lloyds pharmacy chain, Celesio, may also throw his hat into the ring.

Boots will decide by Friday whether to open its books for inspection to Wellcome and Terra Firma.

The company has already opened its books to the potential buyer KKR, which had teamed up with Boots' deputy chairman Stefano Pessina, who already owns 15 per cent of the company and wants to make it private.

Trade unions have, however, warned that selling the group to a private equity firm could lead to asset stripping.