Walgreen acquires retail clinic operator

National pharmacy chain Walgreen Co. has agreed to acquire retail clinic operator and partner Take Care Health Systems. The deal positions Walgreen to compete better with CVS/Caremark, which previously acquired retail clinic operator MinuteClinic. Take Care, which operates 50 clinics across the U.S., already runs some clinics at Walgreens locations. Walgreens will use the acquisition to power its upcoming retail clinic expansion. The chain plans to have more than 400 "Health Corner Clinics" running in its stores by the end of 2008.

While the deal's financial terms weren't announced, this probably didn't constitute a huge financial investment for Walgreens, which had 2006 sales of $47.4 billion. On the other hand, it suggests that Walgreen execs see retail clinics as strategic to the chain's future. Also, it suggests that savvy Hal Rosenbluth, chairman of Take Care, believes that retail clinics aren't going to be as successful going it alone. We would have predicted that Rosenbluth would grow Take Care further before selling it, but he may have decided that retail drug chains were going to control the business and cashed out while the getting was good.

To learn more about the acquisition:
- read this St. Louis Business Journal article