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CMA puts Thermo Fisher-Roper deal under the microscope

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(Reuters) – Britain’s competition watchdog said on Wednesday Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc’s <TMO.N> $925 million (730 million pound) acquisition of Roper Technologies Inc’s <ROP.N> unit Gatan raised concerns that prices of microscopes could go up and quality could suffer.

U.S.-based Thermo Fisher – the world’s largest maker of scientific instruments – said in June it would buy Gatan, a Pleasanton, California-based maker of instruments and software used to enhance the performance of electron microscopes.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal could affect two rivals of Thermo Fisher who use Gatan products with their electron microscopes.

“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,” the watchdog said in a statement.

Thermo Fisher said in June that Gatan, which is part of Roper’s medical and scientific imaging unit, was expected to generate about $150 million in revenue in 2018.

CMA was also concerned that the merger would leave Thermo Fisher with insufficient competition in the market for direct detection cameras.

The watchdog said the merger would be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation if the firms did not address its concerns.

Thermo Fisher and Roper did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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