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Competitive Watch: Walgreens Officially Owns Duane Reade

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Walgreens completed its acquisition of Duane Reade's 258 drug stores, as well as the chain's corporate office and two distribution centers, Drug Store News reported.

Walgreens currently plans for Duane Reade to continue operating under its brand name. The drug store chain, with 70 Walgreens stores in the New York City metropolitan area, said it will consider the most effective way to harmonize both brands over time.

John Spina, Walgreens' vice president of retail integration and new format development, will continue to oversee the Duane Reade integration process as he has since the acquisition was announced. Spina will work closely with Duane Reade Chairman and CEO John Lederer, who will continue to direct Duane Reade operations.

Spina's responsibility for leading Walgreens "Rewiring for Growth" initiative -- on track to deliver $1 billion in annual cost reductions in fiscal 2011 -- was recently transitioned to Don Huonker, Walgreens' senior vice president of healthcare innovation.

"Just as Walgreens has been a trusted community pharmacy for more than 100 years, we plan for Duane Reade to continue as the leading drugstore that millions of New Yorkers rely upon," said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. "By combining the strengths of our two companies, we can improve our position as the most convenient provider of consumer goods and services, and pharmacy, health and wellness services in the country."

Walgreens intends to promptly repay or redeem outstanding indebtedness of Duane Reade and its affiliates pursuant to its credit agreement, dated as of July 21, 2003; its 9.75 percent senior subordinated notes due 2011; its 11.75 percent senior secured notes due 2015; and its senior convertible notes due 2022, according to the report.

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