The world’s second largest maker of laboratory equipment, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) has agree to acquire competitor Life Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: LIFE) for $13.6 billion in cash ($76 a share). Thermo Fisher will also assume $2.2 billion in debt.
The transaction is expected to close in early 2014 and is subject to a vote by Life Technologies’ shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Thermo Fisher has received committed financing from J.P. Morgan and Barclays and expects the payment for Life Technologies to be split with cash and debt accounting for $9.5 billion to $10 billion and equity of up to $4 billion.
The acquisition brings to Thermo Fisher an established position in the genetic sequencing business, an area in which the company has not been a player. Genetic testing and sequencing are expected to be high-growth fields in the next few years.
Last year Roche Holdings made a hostile bid for genetic testing equipment maker Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN), which the smaller company successfully beat back. But Illumina could be back in play now because its market cap is significantly lower than Life Technologies’ and the company may need to find a larger partner to help it compete in the market.
Life Technologies’ shares are up 8% in premarket trading this morning, at $73.44, above the top end of its prior 52-week range of $39.73 to $68.23.