Reuters: Roche jumps into bidding for lab equipment maker Life Tech

Roche is sniffing at another deal in gene sequencing, Reuters reports. After failing in its bid for Illumina ($ILMN) last year, the Swiss drugmaker has reportedly joined the bidding for Life Technologies ($LIFE), another diagnostics-focused company that sells lab equipment and supplies, including DNA-sequencing machines. The deal could be worth up to $13 billion.

Roche ($RHHBY) would be bidding against lab equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific ($TMO) and several private equity firms. Buyout specialists including KKR, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group and TPG Capital are weighing bids, as is the diversified testing company Danaher, Reuters' sources say.

Roche's strategic focus on personalized medicine has made its diagnostics division increasingly important on the pharma side. The two businesses are collaborating on more than 200 specific projects, Roche said in its annual report. Next-generation DNA sequencing is expected to deliver an avalanche of opportunity for targeted drug development and diagnostics.

Life Tech, however, is more diversified than Illumina. It would also be a costlier deal. Roche bid $6.7 billion for Illumina last year, and walked away when Illumina asked for a higher offer.

Life Tech said in January that it had hired Deutsche Bank and Moelis & Co. to help it review its strategic options. Reuters' sources say Roche has hired its own bankers to advise it on a deal. Bids are said to be due in April.

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