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Thermo Fisher’s takeover of Gatan comes under CMA microscope

Thermo Fisher’s acquisition of Gatan from Roper Technology raises concerns that customers using specialist microscopes could face higher prices or lower quality products.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating Thermo Fisher’s $925 million takeover of Roper Technologies’ Gatan business.

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

After completing its Phase 1 investigation, the CMA has concerns that the deal could adversely affect Thermo Fisher’s 2 rivals in the sector, who use Gatan peripherals with their electron microscopes. For some products, including certain filters and cameras, there are either no - or extremely limited - alternatives to Gatan available.

The CMA is concerned that the proposed deal could allow Thermo Fisher to weaken its competitors, enhancing its own already strong market position, and lead to higher prices for customers using electron microscopes.

Additionally, the investigation has raised concerns that the merger will leave Thermo Fisher with insufficient competition in the market for direct detection cameras, as Gatan is currently 1 of only 2 competitors in the supply of these instruments.

As well as potentially resulting in higher prices for customers across the sector, the CMA has concerns that less competition would reduce the incentive for further product development.

If the merging businesses are unable to address the CMA’s concerns, the merger will be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, to be carried out by a group of independent CMA panel members.

Further details are available on the Thermo Fisher Scientific / Roper Technologies merger inquiry page.


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