Madison Dearborn Partners in talks to buy majority stake in Walgreen's infusion business for $1 bn

Private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners is in advanced talks to acquire a majority stake in the infusion services business of US drugstore chain operator Walgreen Co for more than $1 billion, Reuters yesterday reported, citing two people close to the situation.

Walgreen's infusion services business is the largest provider of home-infusion services in the US, and Madison Dearborn has so far prevailed over other private equity firms in the auction for the unit, the report said.

The report also said that Walgreen may decide not to sell if it does not receive its price expectations for the unit.

Walgreens has been the leading provider of home infusion therapies for decades and strengthened its position with the 2010 swap of its long-term care pharmacy business for the home infusion business of Omnicare Inc.

It has more than 1400 clinicians, including specially trained infusion nurses, dietitians and infusion pharmacists.

Under infusion therapy, medicine, nutrients or special fluids are delivered through a needle directly into the body, which can be administered through a blood vessel, under the skin or into a muscle or the spinal cord.

It offers a wide range of infusion therapies to treat patients of all ages for a broad variety of conditions, and also provides therapy management programmes for antibiotics, bleeding disorders, heart failure, immunoglobulin therapy, and home nutrition support.

Founded in 1901 and based in Illinois, Walgreens is the largest drug retailing chain in the US operating 8,217 stores in all 50 states, the district of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The company posted net income of $2.45 billion in 2013 on revenues of $72.217 billion.