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Competition concerns over microscopy mega-merger

The Competition and Markets Authority has expressed concern that a proposed merger between microscopy companies could weaken competition and lead to higher prices for researchers buying vital laboratory equipment.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, one of the world’s leading producers of electron microscopes, announced in June 2018 that it intended to pay $925 million (£731m) for Gatan, a subsidiary of Roper Technologies that produces products used with such microscopes. Numerous UK universities are among the companies’ customers. 

After an initial investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on 19 December that it was concerned the acquisition “could adversely affect Thermo Fisher’s two rivals in the sector” as they use Gatan peripherals with their own products. It said that for some products, such as certain filters and cameras, there are very few, or even no alternatives, to Gatan’s products.

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