UPDATED: Perrigo snaps up OTC specialist Omega in deal worth $4.5B

Perrigo CEO Joseph Papa

Perennial dealmaker Perrigo ($PRGO) sealed the deal for Belgium's Omega Pharma, elbowing past rival bidders to expand its footprint in the global OTC market.

The Dublin-based drugmaker will shell out €3.6 billion ($4.5 billion) for Omega, funding one-quarter of its purchase through equity to Omega CEO Mark Coucke and covering the rest with cash and debt, a company spokesman told FiercePharma in an email. Perrigo will also take on €1.1 million of debt from Omega as part of the acquisition.

Perrigo expects its purchase of Omega to fuel its international growth strategy and solidify its position in the European OTC market, CEO Joseph Papa said in a statement. The company has long sought a stronger presence at the OTC table, and Omega's portfolio of 2,000 products and its global savoir-faire could be exactly what the Perrigo needs to take sales to the next level. The deal is expected to close in early 2015.

"Our strong financial performance and operational structure have enabled the continued growth and globalization of our business model with Ireland as our gateway for this expansion," Papa said in a statement. "Together, our combined company will have an even larger product portfolio, broader geographic reach, and enhanced scale."

This is far from the first time Perrigo has shopped around for acquisitions. In July 2013, the company scooped up Elan ($ELN) for $8.6 billion, shifting its domicile to Ireland to enjoy a lower corporate tax rate and to further its plans for international expansion.

And Perrigo is not the only company with its sights set on the global OTC market. Pharma heavyweights like Bayer and Novartis ($NVS) are also beefing up their consumer drug portfolios, inking deals and launching products to boost their bottom lines. In April, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) struck a deal to launch a consumer health JV that would help the team grab a bigger piece of the market. In May, Bayer picked up Merck's ($MRK) consumer health unit for $14.2 billion, furthering CEO Marijn Dekker's plan of making the company the world's OTC leader.

- read Perrigo's statement
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Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Perrigo would pay $5.7 billion for Omega Pharma. The company will use a combination of cash, debt and equity to finance its purchase of Omega for $4.5 billion.