Rite Aid Rumored to Be Eying Eckerd

Harrisburg, Pa., According to a Credit Suisse analyst, Rite Aid Corp. could be considering a purchase of some of Jean Coutu Group Inc.’s Eckerd stores if the chain decides to divest the mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S. units.

Analyst Edward Kelly estimates the probability of such a deal at 25%. Further deterioration of Longueuil, Quebec-based Jean Coutu’s financial situation could increase the odds, according to Kelly.

Although neither Jean Coutu or Rite Aid has responded to the speculation, Rite Aid has said it will participate in ongoing industry consolidation.

Kelly estimated that the 729 Eckerd stores could be sold for $700 to $800 million.