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Report: Drug wholesaling giant McKesson to offer $5.4 billion for rival Celesio of Germany

McKesson Corp., North America’s oldest and biggest pharmaceutical distributor, reportedly will make a $5.39 billion offer for Stuttgart, Germany-based competitor Celesio AG.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that people familiar with the matter say McKesson will announce its offer Thursday. Those sources said McKesson already has an agreement to buy the 50.01 per cent stake held by Celesio’s biggest shareholder.

San Francisco-based McKesson supplies medicines to half of U.S. hospitals, as well as doctors and health plans. It has more than 37,000 employees and reported revenue of $122.7 billion last year.

The company did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Celesio declined to comment on the report.

Celesio has about 38,000 employees, operates in 14 countries, runs 2,200 pharmacies and posted revenue of 22.3 billion euros (about $29.5 billion) in 2012.