Shares in Clearwater home care oxygen services giant Lincare Holdings rose more than 24 percent Wednesday on reports in the Financial Times that German health care giant Linde may buy it for $3.4 billion.
The report in the Financial Times "Alphaville" blog cited "usually reliable sources" but otherwise offered no specific names behind the posting.
The blog said the company underwent a formal auctioning process during the past two weeks. France's Air Liquide SA and an unnamed private equity bidder may also be in the running for Lincare.
Lincare could not be reached Wednesday for comment about the takeover. Air Liquide and Linde declined comment on a later story from Reuters.
Lincare, with $1.8 billion in revenues last year and nearly 11,000 employees in 1,000 locations, is the eighth-largest public company based in the Tampa Bay area.
According to the report, Linde acquired European home care business America's Air Products and Chemicals for about $600 million earlier this year, boosting its presence in Belgium, Germany, France, Portugal and Spain. The purchase of Lincare would expand the company's reach across the United States.