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Thermo Fisher Said to Seek Over $500 Million in Sale of Lab Unit

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is seeking a buyer for Cole-Parmer Instrument Co., the lab-equipment manufacturer that it acquired in 2001, people with knowledge of the matter said.

With about $50 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Cole-Parmer could fetch more than $500 million in a sale, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. The sale price could go as high as $700 million, one of the people said.

Acquirers of scientific instrument makers in the past five years have paid a median of 10 times Ebitda, according to data compiled by Bloomberg on seven purchases. When Thermo Fisher acquired Dionex Corp. for more than $2 billion in 2011, it paid about 20 times the previous twelve months Ebitda, the data show.

Ron O’Brien, a spokesman for Thermo Fisher, didn’t reply to phone calls seeking comment on the sale.

Thermo Fisher, which reported Ebitda of $2.7 billion in the twelve months through March, has a market value of more than $46 billion. Cole-Parmer was acquired in 2001 by Fisher Scientific International Inc. for $205 million in cash. Fisher Scientific was later acquired by Thermo Electron Corp. for about $10.6 billion in stock to create Thermo Fisher.

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