Roche, Sigma teamed up for failed Life Technologies bid: sources

NEW YORK Tue May 21, 2013 6:27pm EDT

The logo of the Swiss drugmaker Roche is seen on a factory in Burgdorf near Bern November 17, 2010. REUTERS/Pascal Lauener

The logo of the Swiss drugmaker Roche is seen on a factory in Burgdorf near Bern November 17, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Pascal Lauener

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX) teamed up with Sigma-Aldrich Corp (SIAL.O) to make an unsuccessful bid for Life Technologies Corp LIFE.O earlier this year, people familiar with the matter said.

Life Tech, the genetic testing equipment maker that announced a $13.6 billion sale to Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (TMO.N) in April, also received a rival bid from "strategic party A," according to Life Tech's filings with regulators on Tuesday that detailed how the merger came together.

The sources confirmed party A was Sigma-Aldrich, a maker of chemicals for research laboratories. They asked not to be named because the matter is not public.

While the rival bid was submitted by Sigma-Aldrich only, the company had planned to sell Life Tech's gene sequencing business to Roche, which was interested in buying that business and not the entire company, the people said.

Roche was referred to as "strategic party B" in the merger document Life Tech filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, the sources added.

The filings show Roche has retained its interest in expanding into next-generation genetic sequencing more than a year after its $6.8 billion hostile offer for Illumina Inc (ILMN.O) failed over price.

The partnership with Roche also explains how Sigma-Aldrich, which has a market cap of just over $10 billion, was able to put together a bid for a larger rival.

While both Thermo Fisher and Sigma-Aldrich made their final offers at $76 per share - the ultimate deal price - Life Tech's board determined Thermo Fisher's all-cash offer was superior, the filings show.

Sigma-Aldrich had offered to pay 14 percent of the purchase price in its own stock, according to the filings.

Representatives for Sigma-Aldrich, Life Tech and Roche did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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