Thursday 15 May 2014

Dixons Carphone - why Walgreens-Boots is different...

The Dixons Carphone merger is the latest in a series of retail unions’ response to structural change in retail…

Key metrics
The £3.8bn 50-50 partnership to be called Dixons Carphone will result in a £12bn turnover company, made up of Carphone’s £3.7bn and Dixons £8.2bn.
In terms of stock market value, Carphone's market capitalisation is £1.9bn and Dixons' is £1.87bn
Carphone's 2,037 stores worldwide and Dixons' 947 stores will overlap and synergies will result in annual cost cuts of at least £80m within three years.

Previous retail mergers
Think about the troubled history of retail unions (see Alex Lawsons’ article in the Independent for details) so far:
- Abortive Carphone - Best Buy European joint venture in 2008
- Asda's doomed merger with furniture specialist MFI in 1985
- Morrisons’ takeover of Safeway in 2004 took longer than expected to bed in..
- The Co-op – Somerfield larger store sell-off
- Asda's acquisition of Netto in 2010, sell-off of 25% stores
- Kingfisher's troubled merger of B&Q with the French DIY retailer Castorama in 1998
- Kingfisher’s attempted a merger with Asda in 1999, resulting in Walmart bid

NAMs have to ask themselves if the Dixons-Carphone merger has enough potential to survive, or is even worth the effort…

Meanwhile, the Walgreens-Boots takeover appears to have a number of advantages
- Geographically complementary in that Walgreens is US only, Boots is rest-of-world
- Broadly complementary business philosophies and product assortments
- Potential synergies re retail expertise exchange
- Purchasing synergies already realising $154m

However, the real advantage over previous retail unions arises from the two-step deal (i.e. part–purchase in 2012, final takeover by 2016) which was designed to allow Walgreens and Alliance Boots to come together gradually and integrate, while continuing to drive their independent strategies in the first years of collaboration…

Sometimes slow is better, even in FMCG retailing…

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