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Walgreen Co. will pay $6.7 billion in cash and stock to buy a stake in European health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots in the first international venture for the largest U.S. drugstore chain.

The Deerfield, Ill., company plans to initially spend about $4 billion in cash and contribute more than 83 million shares for a 45 percent ownership stake in Swiss-based Alliance Boots, which runs more than 3,300 health and beauty retail stores in 11 countries. It also has a pharmaceutical wholesale business that supplies pharmacies, doctors and other health care providers in 21 countries.

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