What happened to the Wesfarmers share price in March?

Here’s what moved the Wesfarmers share price last month.

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Key points

  • The Wesfarmers share price gained 4.6% in March, leaving its performance below that of the ASX 200
  • That's despite plenty of news about, and the eventual finalisation of, the company's acquisition of Australian Pharmaceutical Industries
  • As of the end of last month, the Wesfarmers share price had fallen 16% year to date

The Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) share price underperformed the broader market in March despite the company signing the deed to its latest acquisition.

That’s right, the retail conglomerate is now the official owner of the ASX-listed (though, not for much longer) Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API).  

As of the final close of the month, the Wesfarmers share price was trading at $50.41. That’s 4.61% higher than it was at the end of February.

However, over that same period the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) gained 6.3%. That means the Wesfarmers share price underperformed the majority of its ASX 200 peers last month.

Let’s take a closer look at all that Wesfarmers got up to in March.

What happened to Wesfarmers last month?

The Wesfarmers share price was in focus for much of March as the company’s acquisition of API came together.

The takeover, first tabled in July 2021, was initially rejected by API’s board. A revised offer promising $1.55 per API share was accepted later that year.

However, the takeover was thrown off course twice. Firstly, when Sigma Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SIG) posed a merger offer and again when Wesfarmers’ fellow ASX 200 giant Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) threw its hat in the ring.

Fortunately for Wesfarmers, it ultimately won out. API shareholders voted in favour of the company’s takeover on 17 March.

The acquisition was given the green light from the Federal Court days later, with the API share price suspended from 22 March.

The only price-sensitive news the market heard from Wesfarmers in March was released yesterday, sending the company’s share price 1.49% lower.

Then, the ASX 200 staple announced it had officially taken over API.

It ended up paying $1.50 per share for the company since API had paid out 5 cents per share worth of dividends since the conglomerate posed its bid.

Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said the acquisition’s completion was an “exciting milestone”.

“API will be the foundation business of our new health division as we develop capabilities and invest in the growing health, wellbeing, and beauty sector,” Scott continued.

API will delist when the market closes today.

Additionally, Wesfarmers shareholders received the company’s interim dividend last month.

The fully franked 80 cents per share payout hit investors’ bank accounts on 30 March.

Wesfarmers share price snapshot

The Wesfarmers share price’s recent gains haven’t been enough to boost it back into the long-term green.

Right now, the company’s stock is trading for 16% less than it was at the start of 2022. It has also fallen nearly 5% since this time last year.

Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns and has recommended Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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