Thermo Fisher emerges as frontrunner for Life Tech -sources

NEW YORK, April 2 Tue Apr 2, 2013 3:06pm EDT

NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc is emerging as the lead contender in Life Technologies Corp's auction, working on a bid that could value the genetic testing maker at as much as $12 billion, three people familiar with the matter said.

Thermo Fisher, the world's largest maker of laboratory equipment, is considering a bid of between $65 and $70 per share for Life Tech and is interested in buying the entire company, two of the people said.

It is expected to have a leg up over private equity bidders because it can squeeze more cost savings than a buyout firm can, as well as over rival trade buyers who may not want all of Life Tech or have not been as aggressive in their pursuit of the company so far, the three sources said.

Bids are due next week and it is still too early to tell the outcome of the auction, the sources said, asking not to be named because the matter is confidential.

Thermo Fisher and Life Tech declined to comment.