Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.'s stock climbed 1.4% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the drugstore chain beat fiscal fourth-quarter profit expectations and announced a deal to buy rival Rite Aid Corp. . For the quarter ended Aug. 31, the company reported earnings of $26 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with a loss of $221 million, or 23 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as costs associated with the consolidation of Boots Alliance, adjusted earnings per share came to 88 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 81 cents. Revenue rose to $28.52 billion from $19.06 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, with the increase primarily a result of the inclusion of Boots Alliance results. For fiscal 2016, the company said it expects adjusted EPS of $4.25 to $4.55, below the FactSet consensus of $4.56. Walgreens said late Tuesday that it agreed to buy Rite Aid in a deal valued at $17.2 billion. The stock has surged 25% year to date, while the S&P 500 has tacked on 0.3%.
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