* No decision on future of prescription-free drug firm -CEO
* Morgan Stanley hired to advise Omega Pharma -source
* Bloomberg report says sale could earn owners $4 bln plus
(Adds Morgan Stanley role)
BRUSSELS July 8 Omega Pharma NV, a
Belgian over-the-counter healthcare supplier, said any
speculation about the future of the company was premature as no
decision had yet been taken, following suggestions it could sell
The firm, taken private by Chief Executive Mark Coucke and
private equity group Waterland in 2011, has hired Morgan Stanley
to look at strategic options, including a possible sale, one
person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Bloomberg earlier reported Omega Pharma was considering a
sale in a deal that could earn its owners more than $4 billion.
"The rumours about Omega Pharma are premature and one-sided.
The business is doing great. The environment changes quickly so
you have to investigate your options," Coucke wrote on Twitter.
"That's why we are looking together with Waterland how Omega
Pharma can be even stronger in the future. There is still so
much left to build," he added.
Omega Pharma sells prescription-free medicines, healthcare
products and over-the-counter (OTC) items such as wart
treatments and sun tan lotions.
The fragmented OTC industry is consolidating fast and
competition for assets is keen, as illustrated by the
high-priced $14.2 billion sale of Merck & Co's consumer
care business to Germany's Bayer in May.
Coucke said he did not expect any decision soon. "Don't
expect anything in the coming months," he wrote on Twitter.
Omega Pharma was not immediately available to elaborate on
Coucke's comments. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.
The Belgian group is well known for its sport sponsorship,
such as the cycling team Omega Pharma Quickstep of British rider
Mark Cavendish. Mark Coucke also owns Belgian soccer club KV
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, Anjuli Davies, Esha Vaish
and Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mark Potter)