Rite Aid and Walgreens Boots Alliance announced Tuesday that the drugstore chains will sell 865 stores to Fred's Pharmacy for $950 million, according to a release.
If the sale goes through, it would make Fred's one of the biggest pharmacy chains in the U.S.
The news of the sale sent shares in all three companies higher early on Tuesday. USA Today reports that shares in Fred's soared almost 80 percent, while Rite Aid shares rose 5.4 percent and Walgreens rose 0.4 percent.
Walgreens merged with Alliance Boots just two years ago and previously announced plans to purchase Rite Aid. That deal never came to fruition because federal trade officials expressed concerns about merging two of the country's largest pharmacy chains, according to USA Today.
"The agreement is being entered into to respond to concerns identified by the FTC [Federal Trade Comission] in its review of the proposed acquisition of Rite Aid by Walgreens Boots Alliance, which was announced in October 2015," the companies said in a release.
"Walgreens Boots Alliance is actively engaged in discussions with the FTC regarding the transaction and is working toward a close of the Rite Aid acquisition in early calendar 2017."
Fred's has 648 discount general merchandise stores across the United States, 15 of which are located in the southeastern portion of the country. The company previously said it wants to shift its focus from "Fred's Super Dollar" to a chain geared toward personal healthcare, Forbes reports.
"We are pleased to have found an experienced pharmacy operator for these stores,” Stefano Pessina, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said in a release. “With this agreement, we are moving ahead with important work necessary to obtain approval of our acquisition of Rite Aid. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers and patients with the highest level of care and attention.”
USA Today reports that Rite Aid employees of stores purchased by Fred's are expected to keep their jobs if the proposed deal goes through.
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