* Deutsche Bank, Moelis hired as advisers
* Several large private equity firms interested-sources
* Blackstone, Bain, TPG among interested parties-sources
* Life Tech stock soars 10.5 pct to over $10 billion
(New throughout, adds interested private equity bidders,
updates stock price to close)
By Soyoung Kim
NEW YORK, Jan 18 Life Technologies Corp
is exploring a potential sale and has retained banks to advise
on the process, the biotechnology company said on Friday,
sending its shares more than 10 percent higher to an all-time
Life Technologies, whose market value surged to roughly
$10.5 billion, said its board has hired Deutsche Bank Securities
and Moelis & Company to assist in its "annual
The Carlsbad, California-based company, which makes genetic
testing equipment and products used in biotechnology
development, has drawn initial interest from several large
private equity firms, people familiar with the matter said.
Buyout firms Blackstone Group LP, Bain Capital LLC
and TPG Capital LP are among the several interested parties,
said the people, who asked not to be named as details of the
auction are not public. Life Technologies said its board of
directors has not decided on any specific course of action.
Given the sheer size of a potential leveraged buyout,
private equity firms are expected to team up as the sale process
advances, the people said, adding that the auction is still at
an early stage and bidders have yet to conduct due diligence.
Representatives of Blackstone were not immediately available
for comment, while TPG and Bain declined to comment.
News of the potential sale adds to expectations that robust
debt financing markets could lead to a return of the mega
leveraged buyouts, which have remained elusive since the 2008
In another potential deal that would mark the largest
private equity deal since the global financial crisis, buyout
firm Silver Lake Partners is in discussions to take Dell Inc
private, people familiar with the matter have said.
Gene-sequencing companies such as Life Technologies have
become takeover targets over the last year by potential buyers
seeking to acquire the technology that can be used to analyze a
person's DNA and help provide personalized medicine.
Last year, Roche Holding AG made a hostile attempt,
unsuccessfully, to buy San Diego-based gene sequencing company
Illumina Inc. Shares of Illumina fell 1 percent to
$51.03 on Friday, valuing the company at nearly $6.4 billion.
Shares of Life Technologies rose 10.6 percent to $60.79 on
the Nasdaq stock market, after reaching an all-time high of $62
during the session.
Canadian newspaper Financial Post, which earlier reported
the sale process, said a potential deal for Life Technologies
could come in the $65-$75 per share range.
"While price talk is reported to be in the $65 to $75 range,
our initial analysis suggests an LBO transaction valuing Life's
equity in the $50 to $60 range is at present more realistic,"
Jefferies & Co analyst Jon Wood said in a note.
While the company's strong revenue, scalable operating model
and capital efficiency may support a higher sale price, buyers
had less appetite for risk following the 2008 financial crisis,
(Reporting by Soyoung Kim in New York, additional reporting by
Esha Dey in Bangalore,; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, M.D.
Golan, Gunna Dickson and David Gregorio)