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The rumour mill is once again spinning on the proposed tie-up between drugstore chains Rite Aid and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Shares of US-based Rite Aid are down about 6 per cent on Wednesday afternoon after media reports that US antitrust regulators may sue to stop its takeover by Walgreens.

Bloomberg, citing trade publication Capitol Forum, said that the US Federal Trade Commission — one of the agencies that policies competition concerns — was considering a lawsuit to block the proposed merger. Walgreens shares, meanwhile, are up nearly 0.7 per cent.

The proposed deal has apparently hit turbulence in Washington since it was announced back in 2015. At that time, Walgreens said it would pay $9 a share, but earlier this year Walgreens said it would now pay just $6.50-$7 a share, valuing the deal between $6.82bn and $7.35bn.

Shares of rival drugstore Fred’s Inc — which has snapped up assets divested in order to secure approval — were also down 7 per cent on Wednesday.

Since January 20, when talks of FTC action on the deal first surfaced, Rite Aid shares are down more than 51 per cent.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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