Thermo Fisher’s proposed takeover of Gatan raises competition concerns

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Thermo Fisher manufactures, among other things, high-tech electron microscopes used for scientific research. Gatan produces highly-specialised “peripherals” or add-ons, such as filters and cameras, which are used in the operation of microscopes by customers such as UK universities and research institutions.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a Phase 2 inquiry on 7 January 2019 after initial competition concerns led to the proposed merger being referred to a Group of independent panel members at the CMA for an in-depth investigation.

In its provisional findings, the Group has found that the proposed deal may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in all the relevant markets in the UK, enhance Thermo Fisher’s already strong market position, and lead to higher prices or lower quality for customers using electron microscopes. Additionally, the merger may leave Thermo Fisher with insufficient competition in the markets for certain peripherals, as Gatan is currently one of only a small number of competitors in the supply of these instruments.

The CMA is asking for views on these provisional findings by Wednesday 8 May 2019 and will assess all the evidence before making a final decision. The CMA has also published a Remedies Notice setting out the actions which it might take to remedy the problems identified in the provisional findings report and is asking for comments on possible remedies by Wednesday 1 May 2019.

The statutory deadline for the CMA’s final report is 23 June 2019.

More information is available on the Thermo Fisher Scientific / Roper Technologies case page .

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