Thermo Fisher applies to acquire Life Technologies in US$13.6B global merger

Thermo Fisher Scientific has applied to the local regulator to acquire Life Technologies Corp as part of a US$13.6 billion global merger of the life sciences firms.

The two companies produce a range of products for scientific applications, and have an overlap in cell culture, transplant diagnostics, protein and molecular biology, the Commerce Commission said in a statement. The regulator has to be satisfied the merger would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the market.

"A key product in which the parties overlap is the production of foetal bovine serum which is used in cell cultures to stimulate cell reproduction," the regulator said. "Foetal bovine serum is used by scientific and pharmaceutical customers for research, and the manufacture of human and veterinary vaccines and drugs."

New York Stock Exchange-listed Thermo Fisher made its bid for California-based Life Technologies in April, and the target company's shareholders approved the deal in August, with the merger expected to close early next year.

Thermo Fisher's New Zealand unit made a net profit of $1.24 million on sales of $48.6 million in calendar 2012, a smaller margin than Life Technologies, whose local business reported profit of $3.2 million on sales of $46.3 million in the same period, according to financial statements lodged with the Companies Office.