Life Technologies Said to Attract Interest From Buyout Group

A buyout group comprising Blackstone Group LP, Carlyle Group, TPG Capital and Temasek Holdings Pte is exploring an offer for Life Technologies Corp., a maker of DNA-sequencing equipment and laboratory materials, said people with knowledge of the matter.

The group is actively talking to banks on financing, said the people, who asked not to be named as the negotiations are private. Bids for Carlsbad, California-based Life are due next month, according to the people.

While Life has attracted interest from some strategic suitors, Chief Executive Officer Gregory Lucier favors a buyout over a deal with a competitor because he wants to keep the reins, said two people. The board engaged Deutsche Bank AG to review options and ensure it pursues strategic offers, they said.

Life, whose market value tops $10 billion, said in January that directors were working with Deutsche Bank, as well as Moelis & Co., to examine strategic alternatives. The company competes with Illumina Inc. and Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. in the market for gene-sequencing machines.

The deliberations are at an early stage, and the consortium may decide against an offer. If the group succeeds in bidding, it could potentially be the largest leveraged buyout undertaken by a consortium of the world’s top private-equity firms since at least the end of 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Stock Performance

Life shares had risen 33 percent in 12 months through yesterday. They advanced as much as 4.7 percent yesterday following the Bloomberg report, and climbed 0.3 percent to $61.91 at 9:36 a.m. today in New York.

Representatives at Life, Carlyle, TPG and Blackstone declined to comment. Temasek said in an e-mailed statement it doesn’t comment on market speculation.

Bain Capital LLC also explored a bid for Life and is now backing away from the process, said another person familiar with the matter. A representative at Boston-based Bain didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Life’s technology can be used to provide a blueprint of a person’s DNA, information that may eventually be used to diagnose disease, identify the risks of certain conditions or better target medicines. Last year Life’s peer Illumina rebuffed repeated overtures from Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs.

(Updates with Bain involvement in eighth paragraph.)
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