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Largest Rite Aid shareholder sells

By , - Last modified: April 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Rite Aid Corp.'s largest shareholder has divested itself of nearly a quarter of its shares.

Canadian company The Jean Coutu Group Inc. on Friday said it sold 56 million of its 234.4 million Rite Aid shares for a per-share price of $1.51, realizing proceeds of $83.6 million after transaction costs.

Jean Coutu acquired the shares in 2007, as part of Rite Aid's purchase from Jean Coutu of the Brooks-Eckerd chain. Rite Aid shares closed above $6.50 the week of that transaction, according to Google Finance.

However, Jean Coutu will book the $83.6 million as net profit, because it already had written off all its Rite Aid investment, the company said.

The sale reduces Jean Coutu's share of Rite Aid from 26.6 percent to 19.85 percent. Under the terms of the Brooks-Eckerd transaction, that reduces Jean Coutu's seats on Rite Aid's board from three to two. Jean Coutu's Rite Aid board members are André Bezile, François Coutu and Michel Coutu.

Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower said the company declined to comment.

Rite Aid, based in East Pennsboro Township in Cumberland County, is the nation's third largest drugstore chain. Its shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RAD.

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