| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Two private equity consortia submitted second-round bids on Wednesday for medical diagnostics company Beckman Coulter Inc BEC.N, which put itself up for sale last year, two sources familiar with the situation said.
Beckman hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) to help it weigh strategic options, including a possible sale of the company, sources told Reuters in December.
The company has a market valuation of more than $5 billion. If private equity firms succeed, it would make it one of the largest leveraged buyouts since the credit crisis.
Initial offers were due before Christmas and a number of private equity firms and strategic companies submitted bids. Second-round bids -- which some of the sources described as 'final bids' -- were due on Wednesday.
Commitment letters from banks to financing for private equity-led deals were also required to be submitted on Wednesday, one of the sources said. The sources declined to be named because the process is not public.
Two private equity consortia -- one made up of Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) and TPG Capital, the second made up of Apollo Management LP APOLO.UL and Carlyle Group CYL.UL -- submitted bids, two sources familiar with the matter said.
All the private equity firms declined comment.
Beckman has also received interest from diversified industrial company Danaher Corp (DHR.N), although it was unclear if it put in a firm bid.
Danaher was not immediately available for comment. Goldman and Beckman declined comment.
One source said Goldman moved the date for bids forward for a number of reasons such as avoiding ongoing disruption to Beckman's business.
However, that may have put private equity bidders -- reliant on arranging financing for deals -- at a disadvantage versus strategic bidders, which do not need financing, that source said.
Beckman's CEO and chairman Scott Garrett resigned in September and the company started a search for a successor.
The company's shares took a hit in July 2010 when it cautioned earnings would fall below estimates, but have since recovered. Its shares closed up 0.8 percent on Thursday at $72.95.
The medical devices sector has been consolidating.
Other recent deals include orthopedic device maker Stryker Corp (SYK.N) buying a unit of Boston Scientific Corp (BSX.N) that makes devices to treat stroke, aneurysm and other vascular conditions for $1.5 billion, and St Jude Medical Inc's STJ.N deal to pay $1 billion for AGA Medical Holdings Inc, whose devices treat structural heart defects.
(Additional reporting by Jessica Hall in Philadelphia; editing by Gary Hill and Andre Grenon)