Rite Aid to buy out Eckerd drug stores

NEW YORK (AP) ó Rite Aid Corp., the nationís third largest drugstore chain behind Walgreen and CVS, said Thursday it will purchase the U.S. Eckerd and Brooks operations of Canadaís Jean Coutu Group Inc. for about $2.55 billion in cash and stock.

The deal will make Rite Aid the largest drugstore chain operator on the East Coast.

Rite Aid will pay $1.45 billion in cash and 250 million shares valued at about $1.1 billion for Jean Coutuís Brooks and Eckerd chains in the United States. The shares will give Jean Coutu a 32 percent common equity stake and 30.2 percent of the voting power in the expanded Rite Aid.

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