Walgreens and Wassom may see the writing on the wall
While publicly, Greg Wassom seems to be playing down the likelihood of moving the company to Europe (Switzerland), he may know differently. I think most WAG execs would not like to see this, but the most influential of all of them may like the idea. Stefan Pessino of Boots is by far the largest WAG stockholder since WAG purchased 45% of his company. Last I knew he owned 72 million shares. Greg Wassom owns less than 0.5 million shares. The largest institutional holder, Vanguard, owns about 50 million shares. You think Pessino has any influence at the board meetings? Pessino is European (Italian) and has headquartered his company in Switzerland. How many shares will he own when Walgreens buys the other 55% of Boots in 2015? Since he did not headquarter his company in his homeland of Italy, how much sympathy will he have for those wanting to keep Walgreens headquartered in it's homeland? Not much, unless it makes business sense (not likely IMO). If Pessino comes down on the side of Goldman and the hedge funds in favor of moving the company, he could have tremendous clout. I'm not saying it's a done deal. I see it as 70% chance they will take this controversial action in the next 5 years.
Fact is that when Walgreens bought Boots, Boots actually bought Walgreens. I don't think anybody really cares where headquarters is legally domiciled except for Deerfield employees that would expect to continue to supervise US operations. Don't know one corporate employee that can't wait to retire or find another job. Whomever wrote that book about good to great should be working on the sequel - "From Great to Really Big and Really Bad"