(Reuters) – Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc is close to buying genetic testing equipment maker Life Technologies Corp for more than $12 billion, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
An acquisition of Life Technologies would boost Thermo Fisher’s presence in scientific research, genetic analysis and applied sciences and make it a major player in the genetic sequencing market, creating a healthcare technology giant with annual revenues of over $16 billion and some 50,000 employees.
Also it would be by far its biggest deal since the $12.8 billion merger in 2006 of Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific International that created the world’s largest maker of scientific equipment and laboratory instruments.
Life Technologies’ board, which met on Saturday to review three takeover offers, chose Thermo Fisher as the top bidder after the world’s largest maker of laboratory equipment raised its bid on Friday to the low $70 per share range, or more than $12 billion, the people said.
A deal could come as soon as Monday, but terms of the agreement are being finalized and the negotiations still could fall apart, the people said.
Waltham, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher and a private equity consortium, as well as Sigma-Aldrich Corp, a maker of chemicals for research laboratories, submitted another round of bids on Friday after Life Technologies asked for “best and final” offers, the people said.
The people asked not to be named because the matter is not yet public. Thermo Fisher, Life Technologies and Sigma-Aldrich did not respond to requests for comment. Blackstone Group LP, Carlyle Group LP, KKR & Co LP and Temasek Holdings, which are part of the buyout consortium, could not immediately reached for comment.
Carlsbad, California-based Life Technologies, which has a market value of $11.6 billion and debt of about $2.4 billion, sought a higher price from bidders after receiving committed offers on Tuesday, the people familiar with the matter said.
The private equity consortium also raised its offer on Friday from $65 to about $67 per share, short of Thermo Fisher’s bid, one of the people said. The price and structure of the offer from Sigma-Aldrich, which has a $9.2 billion market value and has been working with Morgan Stanley on the offer, could not be obtained. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.
Thermo is already a world leader in scientific equipment and laboratory instruments, from the most basic test tubes to advanced mass spectrometry equipment used to determine the chemical structure of molecules.
Thermo also sells chemicals, agents and antibodies used in the manufacturing and research of biotech medicine, and has enhanced its portfolio of environmental safety products for testing air and water quality and food safety in recent years.
The acquisition of Life Technologies will catapult it into the field of genomic-based medicine, in which researchers, drugmakers and doctors are uncovering the genetic underpinnings of disease to better tailor a treatment to the patients most likely to benefit.
Thermo Fisher has been quite acquisitive in recent years, buying Phadia for $3.5 billion in 2011 and Dionex for $2.1 billion in 2010.
Life Technologies is also the product of the combination of two companies – Invitrogen, a maker of cultures used in the manufacture of biotech medicines, and the genetic testing company Applied Biosystems.
Life Technologies said earlier this year that it was undergoing a strategic review and that all options were on the table. But the sale of the company has appeared to be the most likely outcome for months.
(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Diane Craft)