Exclusive: Thermo Fisher weighs Life Tech takeover-sources

Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:47pm EST
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By Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (TMO.N: Quote) is considering making an offer for Life Technologies Corp (LIFE.O: Quote), the biomedical laboratory equipment maker that is exploring a potential sale, three people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Thermo Fisher, the world's largest maker of laboratory equipment and scientific instruments, is one of the parties that have held discussions with Life Technologies about a potential deal, said the sources, who asked to be anonymous because the talks are confidential.

Private equity firms KKR & Co LP (KKR.N: Quote), Blackstone Group LP (BX.N: Quote), Bain Capital LLC and TPG Capital LP are also interested in buying Carlsbad, California-based Life Technologies, which has a $10.7 billion market capitalization, the sources said.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher has a market value of around $25 billion.

Talks with the potential buyers are at an early stage and may not lead to a transaction, the sources said.

Thermo Fisher and Life Technologies officials declined to comment. Representatives of the private equity firms declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

If completed, the purchase by Thermo Fisher of Life Technologies would mark its biggest acquisition since 2006, when the company was created through the $12.8 billion merger of Thermo Electron Corp with Fisher Scientific International Inc.

The U.S. government's efforts to curb spending to fix its budget deficit has resulted in a lull in government-sponsored medical research, hurting companies that make life-science tools. Thermo Fisher's response so far has been to expand in emerging markets such as China.   Continued...