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UPDATE 1-Austria's AMS makes $4.8 bln Osram counter offer, outbidding private equity

Kirsti Knolle

equity@ (Adds detail, background, analyst)

VIENNA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Austrian sensor specialist AMS launched a bid for Germany's Osram on Tuesday, valuing it at 4.3 billion euros ($4.8 billion) including debt and beating an offer from private equity firms Bain Capital and Carlyle.

AMS said it had made its 38.50 euros ($42.90) per share offer for Osram Licht, which is 10% above the price offered by the buyout firms, after getting approval from German finance watchdog Bafin, adding that the acceptance period will run for four weeks from Sept. 3 until Oct. 1.

AMS is interested in Osram's key technologies for self-driving cars and wants to create a global power in sensors and photonics.

Osram shareholders who have already decided to tender for the private equity groups' offer of 35 euros per share can withdraw and retender, AMS said in a statement.

The bid by AMS automatically extends the period for the offer by Bain Capital and Carlyle Group, who sources told Reuters were considering raising it.

Both bidders have provided for a minimum acceptance threshold of 70%.

"Our offer and the combination of Osram and AMS represents a better option to all stakeholders than the private equity proposal," AMS Chief Executive Alexander Everke said.

Analysts said the combination of the two groups' lidar systems - sensors that use laser light pulses to render precise images of the environment around a car - would make sense.

However, it might take several years until these systems bring solid revenue flows, IHS Markit analyst Dexin Chen said.

Investors also questioned how the Austrian company, which has 8,500 employees, will be able to integrate the German group, which last year had more than 24,200 staff working in more than 120 countries and at 27 production facilities worldwide. ($1 = 0.8973 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle Editing by Thomas Seythal and Alexander Smith)