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UK Competition Regulator Probes Thermo Fisher’s $3.1B Purchase of Olink

 |  February 4, 2024

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on Friday that it is examining the proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of biotech firm Olink Holding by Thermo Fisher, raising concerns about potential implications for competition in the UK market.

Thermo Fisher, a global leader in serving science, had entered into an agreement in October to acquire Sweden-based Olink for $26 per share. However, the CMA is now assessing whether this deal, if finalized, would lead to a substantial lessening of competition within the country.

The antitrust regulator has not initiated a formal investigation yet but has invited comments from stakeholders until February 23. This move is part of the CMA’s standard procedure to gather information and opinions from various parties involved, including industry participants, competitors, and consumer groups.

In November, the waiting period under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act for the Olink sale to Thermo Fisher expired, allowing the deal to progress without facing any immediate regulatory obstacles in the United States.

Thermo Fisher, a Massachusetts-based company with a significant presence in the life sciences and healthcare sectors, aims to expand its portfolio with the acquisition of Olink. Olink specializes in providing innovative solutions for protein biomarker discovery and has gained recognition for its advanced technologies in the biotech industry.

While the CMA’s scrutiny is underway, it is important to note that the regulator has not reached any conclusions regarding the potential impact on competition. The investigation will determine whether the acquisition could lead to a dominance that may adversely affect consumers, competitors, or the overall market dynamics.

The CMA’s decision-making process will be guided by the information gathered during the comment period, and it remains to be seen whether the regulator will move forward with a formal investigation or impose any conditions on the Thermo Fisher-Olink deal.

Source: Seeking Alpha