Private equity firms explore joint bid for Life Tech -source

NEW YORK, March 5 Tue Mar 5, 2013 6:25pm EST

NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - Private equity firms including Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group have teamed up and are exploring a joint offer for Life Technologies Corp , the biomedical laboratory equipment maker with a $10 billion market value, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The buyout consortium -- which also comprises private equity firm TPG Capital and Singapore's state investor Temasek Holdings -- is at a preliminary stage of discussions and it remains unclear if the group will proceed with a bid, the person said.

The group thinks that Life Tech' stock prices have run up to a level at which it would be tough to make the economics of a deal attractive, the person added, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

Representatives for Life Tech, Carlyle and Temasek did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Blackstone and TPG declined to comment.

Life Tech has held discussions with industry rivals such as Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc as well as buyout firms about a potential sale, but most of the bidders felt that a run-up in the company's shares made a deal less attractive, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Shares of Life Tech have risen 26 percent so far this year on expectations of a potential sale, after the company announced in January that the board was working with Deutsche Bank and Moelis to explore strategic alternatives.

The stock rose 3.3 percent to $61.75 on the Nasdaq market on Tuesday. Bloomberg News reported earlier in the day that the private equity firms have joined forces to consider a joint offer for Life Tech.