Alliance Boots received an improved £10.44bn takeover bid yesterday from private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which the board is expected to recommend to shareholders this mornring. Daily Telegraph

KKR’s bid for Alliance Boots, which is backed to the tune of £500m by deputy chairman and 15% shareholder Stefano Pessina, values each share at about £10.80, substantially above the £10.40 the bidders had originally indicated.

The offer is priced to knock rival bids out of the running, among them Guy Hands' Terra Firma, which has teamed up with the Wellcome Trust to consider a bid.

Alliance Boots has a 20% share of the UK pharmacy market, with 2,600 stores in the UK and a further 350 elsewhere in Europe and Asia. It also operates a drug wholesale and distribution business across Europe.

Yesterday Alliance Boots announced plans to sell private medical insurance from Prudential in its stores across the UK.