Report: Roche dives into Life Tech bidding war

Roche ($RHHBY) may be jumping into the diagnostics M&A pool once again, a year after Illumina ($ILMN) spurned its $6.8 billion offer. Reuters reports that the Swiss pharmaceutical company is joining a bidding war for Life Technologies ($LIFE).

Life Technologies CEO Greg Lucier

But Roche is far from alone. At least two other companies--Thermo Fisher Scientific and Danaher--are also considering bids, according to previous reports. There's even a global buyout consortium in the mix, with Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, TPG Capital and Temasek Holdings (Singapore's state investor) joining forces to put together a potential offer. Adding to the robust competition, buyout group KKR & Co. and Hellman & Friedman have also dived into the battle, the Reuters story notes. They'll have a long way to go to seal a deal, however, with an asking price rumored to reach $15.7 billion. Bids, meanwhile are due in early April.

About a year ago, Roche went after gene sequencer and diagnostics maker Illumina with a $6.8 billion hostile bid that ultimately failed over price. And as Reuters notes, Roche once again appears to be eyeing the same kind of company. Life, a maker of biomedical laboratory equipment, is a genetic testing company focused on gene sequencing, molecular diagnostics, regenerative medicine and synthetic biology, among other areas.

And Roche, like its rivals in this bidding process, is going for synergy, and seeking a way to continue steady growth of its diagnostics arm. Roche's professional diagnostics unit soared 10% in 2012, hitting $5.6 billion in revenue, and its fast-growing molecular diagnostics business climbed to $1.3 billion, a 7% increase.

- read the Reuters story