Boots snaps up Dollond & Aitchison in merger deal

High street group Alliance Boots has merged its Boots Opticians business with competitor Dollond & Aitchison. The new business, which will trade as Boots Opticians, will create the second largest optical chain in the UK with 690 shops, including around 210 franchises.

Boots will hold a controlling stake in the new company, which will be run as a stand alone business and have around 5,000 staff, but it will be jointly owned with Dollond & Aitchison’s Italian eyewear specialist owner De Rigo.

Current managing director of Boots Opticians, Pradip Patel, will become chairman and Andy Ferguson, currently chief executive of Dollond & Aitchison, will become managing director of the new firm which is expected to be headquartered in Nottingham.

Stefano Pessina, Executive Chairman of Alliance Boots, says the merger is designed to build on the Boots brand in the UK to create a “leading force in the optical market.”

The deal will likely be completed in the second quarter of this year if approved by the competition authorities.

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