Walgreen Rallies for Second Day on New Drug Distributor

Walgreen Co., the largest U.S. drugstore chain, had its biggest two-day rally in eight months after AmerisourceBergen Corp. yesterday agreed to handle its pharmaceutical distribution.

Walgreen rose 2.9 percent to $46.02 at the close in New York and has increased 8.5 percent in the past two days, the biggest increase since July. The Deerfield, Illinois-based chain has gained 24 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has advanced 9.3 percent.

The pact that allows Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based AmerisourceBergen to distribute branded and generic drugs will reduce costs and boost sales of cancer and other specialty medicines for Walgreen. The accord will start in September and last 10 years, the companies said in a statement yesterday.

As a part of the agreement, Walgreen and Alliance Boots GmbH also gained the option to acquire as much as 7 percent of AmerisourceBergen’s equity in the open market, plus warrants for 16 percent of the shares. Walgreen bought a 45 percent stake last year in Alliance Boots GmbH for $6.7 billion to create a global chain of pharmacies.

Walgreen has more than 8,000 U.S. locations.

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