KKR Said to Drop Out of Joint Bid With TPG, Blackstone for Beckman Coulter

KKR & Co. dropped out of a bidding group for lab-equipment maker Beckman Coulter Inc., leaving TPG Capital and Blackstone Group LP to come up with extra funding or find another investor, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

The next round of bids for Beckman Coulter, which has a market value of about $5 billion, are due in early February, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process is private.

Danaher Corp. and a second private equity group that includes Apollo Global Management LLC and Carlyle Group are also interested in Brea, California-based Beckman, the people said.

A Danaher spokesman didn’t return a call seeking comment. Representatives for Apollo and Carlyle declined to comment.

KKR exited the TPG-Blackstone consortium more than a week ago, citing concern the price for Beckman might get too high amid interest by strategic bidders such as Danaher, said the people.

“The fact that there is a strategic bidder is a positive because they have the potential to gain more synergies than a financial buyer,” Bruce Jackson, an analyst at Morgan Joseph & Co. in New York, said in a telephone interview today.

“We’ve not made any public statements regarding any of the public news articles,” Cynthia Skoglund, a Beckman spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview today. A spokeswoman for KKR declined to comment.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is running the sale process for Beckman, which began shopping itself late last year, people said at the time.

Shares Fall

Beckman’s shares fell 32 cents, or less than a percent, to $71.48 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock rose 6.9 percent in the year before today.

Beckman said in September that J. Robert Hurley would become interim president and chief executive after Scott Garrett resigned as CEO. A private equity buyer may pay about $80 a share, said Doug Schenkel, an analyst with Cowen & Co. in Boston, in a Dec. 23 research report.

“Beckman Coulter should attract interest from both strategic and financial buyers,” said Dan Leonard, an analyst with Leerink Swann & Co. in New York, in a Dec. 10 report. “Beckman’s diagnostic lab testing platforms stick well to customers and drive significant consumable revenues.”

There have been 621 acquisitions of U.S. health-care companies by private-equity firms in the past five years, with an average value of $315 million and a typical premium of 29 percent. The biggest was the 2006 purchase of hospital operator HCA Inc. by funds led by New York-based KKR and Bain Capital Llc of Boston. Only three transactions, including HCA, were valued at more than $5 billion.

There have been 104 acquisitions in the U.S. medical diagnostic equipment industry in the past five years, with an average premium of 52 percent and an average size of $466.8 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeffrey McCracken in New York at jmccracken3@bloomberg.net; Cristina Alesci in New York at Calesci2@bloomberg.net; Sasha Damouni in New York at sdamouni2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reg Gale at Rgale5@bloomberg.net Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net Brad Skillman at +1-212-617-2763 or bskillman1@bloomberg.net

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