Perrigo Said in Exclusive Talks to Acquire Omega Pharma

Perrigo Co. has entered exclusive talks to buy Omega Pharma NV after beating suitors including Sanofi, Actavis Plc and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Perrigo may reach an agreement to buy Omega Pharma, a Belgian over-the-counter health-care company, soon, two of the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Omega Pharma may fetch more than 4 billion euros ($5 billion) from the sale, three people said.

Perrigo climbed 4.1 percent to $161.33 yesterday in New York, giving the company a market value of $21.6 billion.

Representatives for Perrigo, Omega Pharma, Actavis and Sanofi declined to comment. A representative for Boehringer Ingelheim didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Perrigo, which traces its roots back to 1887, develops, manufactures and distributes over-the-counter and prescription medicines, nutritional products and pharmaceutical ingredients, according to its website.

In July 2013, Perrigo agreed to buy Irish drug company Elan Corp. for $8.6 billion. The deal allowed Perrigo, formerly based in Allegan, Michigan, to move its address to Ireland, where the corporate income-tax rate is lower. It also received royalties from Elan’s multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri.

Painkiller Solpadeine

Omega Pharma, which makes drugs including painkiller Solpadeine, was valued at 848 million euros when it was taken private by founder and Chief Executive Officer Marc Coucke, with Waterland Private Equity Investments BV and several co-investors, in February 2012 after 13 years as a public company.

The company’s operating profit for the first six months of 2014 was 130.1 million euros, an increase of 60 percent from the same period last year, according to a statement. Operating profit for the whole of 2013 was 137.7 million euros, with net sales of 1.2 billion euros.

Omega Pharma Invest NV, formerly known as Couckinvest NV, is the main shareholder with an almost 88 percent stake, the annual report shows. The company holds the rest of the shares as treasury stock.

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