July 18 U.S. pension adviser CTW Investment
Group has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to
investigate private meetings that executives of Walgreen Co
held with investors on moving its tax home base to
Europe, the New York Post reported.
CTW is raising questions about whether the drugstore chain
operator's meetings in April with investors Goldman Sachs, Jana
Partners, Och-Ziff and Corvex ran afoul of fair disclosure
rules, the NY Post said. (bit.ly/1laOCcG)
"Walgreen may have put the vast majority of its investors at
a disadvantage while positioning influential hedge funds to
profit from material, non-public information," CTW's Michael
Pryce-Jones said, according to the NY Post.
With more than 8,200 drugstores in the United States,
Chicago-based Walgreen has been under pressure from some of its
investors to buy out the stake it does not already own in
Alliance Boots and establish a new tax domicile in Switzerland.
The push was made at a private meeting between the
shareholder group and company executives in Paris in April, the
Financial Times reported.
Such a move, known as tax inversion, could significantly
reduce Walgreen's taxable income in the United States, which has
one of the world's highest corporate tax rates.
Calling for a new sense of "economic patriotism," U.S.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged Congress on Wednesday to take
steps quickly to discourage U.S. companies from moving their tax
domiciles abroad to avoid federal taxes.
Representatives at the SEC, Walgreen and CTW were not
immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business
(Reporting by Arnab Sen in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar