Rite Aid


announced a three-fold plan today to reduce its debt by roughly $726.4 million.

The drugstore chain will sell 5.4 million common shares of

Advance PCS


, a health benefit management services provider, for $247.1 million. Rite Aid received the shares for its October sale of its

PCS Health Systems


Advance Paradigm

, now called Advance PCS. Yesterday, Rite Aid gained $200 million in repayment by AdvancePCS of senior subordinated notes.

Rite Aid company, which is based in Camp Hill, Pa., will exchange approximately $279.3 million worth of debt for common stock in exchange offers which expired yesterday.

Rite Aid said it may receive an additional $37 million if underwriters use their allotment option to buy additional shares of stock from Rite Aid in Advance PCS's secondary offering. The company would use the money to further reduce debt.

Shares of Rite Aid jumped 22 cents, or 4%, to $5.70 in recent

New York Stock Exchange