Life Tech accepts Thermo's $13.6B bid

After months of hints and allegations, Thermo Fisher ($TMO) has come out on top in the scrum to acquire Life Technologies ($LIFE), signing a deal to buy the sequencing giant for $13.6 billion.

The deal comes out to about $76 per share--about $10 higher than rumored negotiations--and Thermo is also on the hook for Life's $2.2 billion in debt, but the company says Life is well worth the price. Thermo CEO Marc Casper said the merger, expected to close in early 2014, will make his company an unrivaled leader in life sciences technology for research, diagnostics and development.

"We are extremely excited about this transaction because it creates the ultimate partner for our customers and significant value for our shareholders," Casper said in a statement. "The acquisition of Life Technologies enhances all three elements of our growth strategy: technological innovation, a unique customer value proposition and expansion in emerging markets."

So now what? Thermo was already a heavyweight in the markets for lab products, but folding in Life's portfolio gives it a huge stake in the growing DNA sequencing world, largely through Life's marquee Ion Torrent sequencers. Casper said Life's products dovetail with Thermo's recent acquisitions in molecular, research and point-of-care diagnostics, and the combined company will look to expand its presence in emerging markets. Furthermore, Thermo believes the acquisition will result in about $275 million in income synergies by year three.

Just what becomes of Life's structure still remains a mystery. Casper said on a call with investors that Thermo has no immediate intention of spinning off or selling any business units, indicating that Life CEO Greg Lucier and Ion Torrent CEO Jonathan Rothberg would stay on hand with the combined company.

As for all that closed-door dealmaking we've heard about since Life put itself on the market in February, Reuters reports that the company's board sat down Saturday to review bids from Thermo, Sigma-Aldrich and a private equity group headlined by Blackstone and Carlyle, eventually settling on the $13.6 billion offer.

- read Thermo's announcement
- check out the Reuters story

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