Duane Reade Sold, Being Taken Private

Dec 24, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Duane Reade is New York’s drugstore and the 239-store chain now has a new owner.

It was announced yesterday that Duane Reade’s board of directors voted in favor
of selling the business to the private equity firm, Oak Hill Capital Partners,
for approximately $415 million in cash and debt repayments for around another
$300 million.

Oak Hill plans to take the drugstore chain, which has been listed on the New
York Stock Exchange, private.

Duane Read Chairman, Chief Executive and President will continue in those roles
once the deal is completed.

“We are confident that this agreement delivers excellent value to our stockholders
while allowing us to effectively confront near-term industry challenges by affording
us a degree of flexibility that we would not have as a public company,” he said
in a released statement. “We believe the partnership with Oak Hill will provide
an opportunity to investigate new avenues to improve the business, while maintaining
our leadership position in the metro New York market. Our customers, employees
and business associates should be assured that this will be a seamless transaction.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the
Duane Reade deal? Will this influence a possible deal for the Eckerd drugstore

Duane Reade can only be helped by this deal. The chain
has lost some of its focus in recent years as it tries to meet the quarterly
expectations of analysts. Now, Anthony Cuti and company, with the aid of Robert
Bass’s millions, can focus on running the business for the long haul.

We saw in several reports on this story that analysts
believe this deal will increase the likelihood that Eckerd will be sold. Frankly,
we do not see it. The only way it might have some connection would be if Mr.
Bass was interested in acquiring Eckerd as well.
Anderson – Moderator

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