Talk about a long, strange trip. Walgreens Boots Alliance’s planned $9.4 billion acquisition of Rite Aid, which began with talks between the two drugstore chains in 2015, was called off yesterday. In the end, the parties concluded the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was not going to approve the purchase and opted to work out a smaller deal for Walgreens to acquire 2,186 Rite Aid stores and three of its distribution centers for $5.175 billion.

Stefano Pessina, Walgreens chief executive officer, said the new, smaller deal will help to achieve its goal of expanding the company’s reach in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, while providing fewer challenges to face financially and operationally.

Speaking on an earnings call with analysts yesterday, Mr. Stefano said the new deal would allow Walgreens to achieve more than $400 million in annual synergistic savings three to four years after closing. He said…