A private equity firm and an Italian billionaire have finally clinched the takeover battle for Britain’s largest drugstore chain, Alliance Boots, marking Europe’s biggest private equity buyout. The equity firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, and Stefano Pessina, who is also Alliance Boots’ deputy chairman and largest shareholder, agreed to pay £11.39 or $22.80, a share in cash, which is 40 percent more than the price March 8, the day before talks were disclosed, for Alliance Boots. The deal has valued the company at £11.1 billion or $22 billion. Hands’s Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. withdrew its bid after KKR and Pessina took control of at least 29.3 percent of the company’s stock enough stock to block a rival offer. Boots’ Monaco-based billionaire deputy chairman, who is collaborated with KKR in the takeover battle, is now supposed to own at least a 25 percent stake in the company. In a statement, the board of Alliance Boots has said that the sweetened offer by KKR and Pessina was ‘fair and reasonable’ and that it intended to recommend that shareholders approve the deal. The acquisition, the biggest ever leveraged buyout in Europe, gives KKR control of 3,100 stores and a wholesale drug supplier to more than 125,000 pharmacies and hospitals. KKR in its incessant effort to clinch the deal increased its bid three times for Alliance Boots. The winning price was 4.5 percent more than the firm’s last offer and 2.2 percent above the April 20 proposal from Terra Firma, Wellcome Trust Ltd. and HBOS Plc. KKR is planning to launch more pharmacies in the UK and overseas, expanding its wholesale business and target new areas including eastern Europe and Asia. Nowadays, cash-rich private equity firms have been pursuing a series of acquisitions as they take advantage of cheap borrowing costs to buy companies whose property assets and strong cash flows permit them to pay off debt quickly. In the meanwhile, KKR has promised not to cut jobs or close stores at Alliance Boots after effectively winning the takeover battle for the chemist chain and drug wholesalers yesterday, according to a report appeared in the Financial Times.