Pharmacy M&A deals jump 26% as sector thrives during pandemic

Zoya Malik, 13 October 2021


he number of UK pharmacy M&A transactions has jumped 26% to 408 in the last year, up from 325 the year before, says UHY Hacker Young.

Pharmacies were one of few sectors to benefit from a surge in customer demand during the pandemic. As one of the few designated “essential retailers”, they were also allowed to remain open throughout lockdown.

Sales of PPE, along with Covid testing, have opened up whole new business lines for pharmacies. This has not only increased their appetite amongst pharmacies to acquire smaller operators, but also made pharmacies a more attractive target for buyers from outside of the sector.

UHY Hacker Young says both regional and national pharmacy groups are making acquisitions, including first-time buyers that have not made acquisitions before.

Private equity buyers have also been showing increased interest in the sector. It was recently reported that the owner of Lloyds Pharmacy, McKesson Corporation, has been in talks with three prospective bidders for the sale of its UK business, including Aurelius Group, Epiris and HIG Europe.