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Danaher, Thermo Fisher May Bid for Beckman Coulter

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Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Danaher Corp., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. and several private-equity firms are among those considering offers for laboratory-equipment maker Beckman Coulter Inc., three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

First-round bids are due this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Beckman, based in Brea, California, has a market value of about $5.2 billion. Mary Luthy, a Beckman spokeswoman, and Scott Bauman, a Thermo Fisher spokesman, declined to comment in telephone interviews. Matthew McGrew, Danaher’s vice-president for investor relations, didn’t return a call.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which is running the auction, is seeking to keep the private-equity firms from pairing up at this early stage, though they are likely to do so anyway, said one of these people. KKR & Co., Bain Capital LLC, Apollo Global Management LLC and Blackstone Group LP may bid, the people said.

Beckman has jumped 32 percent since Dec. 9, when people familiar with the matter said the company was exploring a sale. Beckman would probably seek at least $90 a share in a buyout, and might command as much as $160 a share, Dan Leonard, an analyst with Leerink Swann & Co. in New York, said this month.

Laboratory Equipment

The company’s biggest business is making laboratory equipment used in scientific research and in hospitals. In September, Beckman said that Chief Executive Officer Scott Garrett had resigned and appointed J. Robert Hurley as interim president and CEO while it searches for a successor.

There have been 102 acquisitions announced for U.S. diagnostic equipment makers in the past five years, with an average size of $473 million and an average premium of 52 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Beckman Coulter climbed $3.29, or 4.6 percent, to $75.36 in New York Stock Exchange trading at 4:06 p.m., its highest close since Aug. 22, 2008. Danaher, based in Washington, D.C., fell 2 cents to $46.78. Thermo Fisher, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, slid 24 cents to $55.54.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeffrey McCracken in New York at jmccracken3@bloomberg.net; Sasha Damouni in New York at sdamouni2@bloomberg.net; Cristina Alesci in New York at calesci2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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