UPDATE 2-Life Tech exploring potential sale, shares soar
* Deutsche Bank, Moelis hired as advisers
* Several large private equity firms interested-source
* Life Tech stock soar 11 pct to over $10 billion
(Adds details from source, company background)
NEW YORK, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Life Technologies Corp is exploring a potential sale and has retained banks to advise on the process, sending shares of the biotechnology company 11 percent higher on Friday.
Life Technologies, whose market value surged to roughly $10.5 billion, said on Friday its board has hired Deutsche Bank Securities and Moelis & Company to assist in its "annual strategic review."
The Carlsbad, California-based company, which makes genetic testing equipment and products used in biotechnology development, has drawn initial interest from several large private equity firms, a person familiar with the matter said.
Given the sheer size of a potential leveraged buyout, private equity firms are expected to team up as the sale process advances, the person said, adding that the auction is still at an early stage and interested parties have yet to conduct due diligence.
The person asked not to be named as details of the auction are not public. Life Technologies said its board of directors has not decided on any specific course of action.
Shares of Life Technologies were up more than 11 percent to $61.36 on the Nasdaq stock market.
"While price talk is reported to be in the $65 to $75 range, our initial analysis suggests an LBO transaction valuing Life's equity in the $50 to $60 range is at present more realistic," Jefferies & Co analyst Jon Wood said in a note.
The analyst said that while the company's strong revenue, scalable operating model and capital efficiency may support a higher sale price, buyers had less appetite for risk following the 2008 financial crisis.
(Reporting by Soyoung Kim in New York, additional reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore,; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and M.D. Golan)