UK Advances Thermo Fisher Scientific-Gatan Investigation
London, UK 12/19/18; Waltham, MA and Sarasota, FL 12/19/18—The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that following an investigation (see IBO 10/31/18), it has concluded that Thermo Fisher Scientific’s proposed $925 million acquisition of Gatan (see IBO 6/30/18) could negatively affect the two companies that sell electron microscopes, besides Thermo Fisher. Thermo Fisher offers electron microscopes and the Gatan acquisition would provide it with accessories for the instruments. The CMA stated, “For some products, including certain filters and cameras, there are either no—or extremely limited—alternatives to Gatan available.” Gatan provides add-ons for electron microscopes, such as filters, camera and detectors. The Authority specifically cited the possibility of higher prices as well as lack of competition in the direct detection camera market, stating that there are only two suppliers currently. Consequently, the CMA has decided to refer the investigation to its second phase. Thermo Fisher stated that it will work with the CMA during the process.
Japan’s JEOL and Germany’s ZEISS are Thermo Fisher’s competitors in the electron microscope market. Suppliers of direct detection camera are UK-based Oxford Instruments and Direct Electron, headquartered in the US.