Life Tech hits high on talk of selling the sequencing heavyweight

Investors rallied around Life Technologies amid buzz that the major provider of DNA sequencers could be on the block, with big names in private equity in the discussion as those approached to make an offer.

The Financial Post broke the news yesterday that the Carlsbad, CA-based company ($LIFE) had secured the services of Deutsche Bank and Moelis & Co. for advice during a strategic review. And the bankers have targeted some major PE players such as Blackstone Group and KKR, the newspaper wrote, as cited by Bloomberg.

On the back of the buyout buzz, Life Technologies' shares hit a record high and were up 10.81% to $60.91 as of 11:29 am ET on Friday. The Post cites unnamed sources that talked up a sale of the company reaching up to $75 per share or $15.7 billion. Life says that its board hasn't elected a course of action, however.

What's Life worth? Last January the company made big news alongside rival Illumina ($ILMN) with the two providers of DNA sequencers saying their new instruments could push the price of decoding an entire genome to $1,000. The dramatic drop in sequencing cost carries implications for patient treatment, drug research and other fields.

Yet researchers have also become swamped with genomic data that hasn't led to new knowledge about disease, leading Life Technologies and Illumina to invest in informatics and software to help customers slice and dice their way to discoveries.

Roche ($RHHBY), the biggest cancer drug provider, mounted a high-profile chase to buy Illumina last year but ultimate gave up after failing to meet eye-to-eye on price. Rumors regarding the Life Technologies sale involve a leveraged buyout option, but right now this story involves much sizzle and very little steak.

- here's Life's release
- check out Bloomberg's article



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