Thermo Fisher's $3.1B Olink Deal Faces UK Antitrust Scrutiny

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a Phase 1 review of Thermo Fisher Scientific's proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of Olink Holding AB. The CMA's initial decision on the merger is expected by July 8, 2024.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Thermo Fisher's $3.1B Olink Deal Faces UK Antitrust Scrutiny

Thermo Fisher's $3.1B Olink Deal Faces UK Antitrust Scrutiny

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a latest Phase 1 review of Thermo Fisher Scientific's proposed acquisition of Swedish biotech firm Olink Holding AB in a deal worth $3.1 billion. The review, prompted by competition concerns, sets a deadline of July 8, 2024, for the CMA's initial decision on the merger.

Why this matters: This review has significant implications for the life sciences industry, as it could set a precedent forfuture mergers and acquisitions in the sector. The outcome will also impact the competitive landscape in the UK and beyond, potentially affecting innovation and prices in the industry.

Thermo Fisher, a leading U.S. medical equipment maker, announced its plans to acquire Olink Holding AB earlier this year. The CMA's review aims to assess the potential impact of the acquisition on competition in the UK market, ensuring that the merger does not harm consumers or stifle innovation in the life sciences industry.

The Phase 1 review is the initial stage of the CMA's investigation, which will determine whether the acquisition raises sufficient competition concerns to warrant a more in-depth Phase 2 inquiry. During this phase, the CMA will gather information from the companies involved, as well as from competitors, customers, and industry experts, to assess the potential effects of the merger onmarket dynamicsand consumer welfare.

Thermo Fisher's acquisition of Olink Holding AB is part of the company's strategy to expand its presence in the rapidly growing proteomics market. Olink's proprietary technology enables researchers to analyze thousands of proteins simultaneously, providing valuable insights into disease mechanisms and potential drug targets. The deal, if approved, would strengthen Thermo Fisher's position in the life sciences industry and enhance its offerings to customers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic research sectors.

The CMA's decision to review the acquisition comes amid heightened scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions in the life sciences sector, as regulators seek to ensure that market consolidation does not lead to reduced competition, higher prices, or decreased innovation. The outcome of the Phase 1 review will be closely watched by industry stakeholders, as it could set a precedent for future deals in the sector.

The $3.1 billion deal between Thermo Fisher and Olink Holding AB now hinges on the CMA's Phase 1 decision, expected by July 8, 2024. As the review process unfolds, the life sciences industry will be closely monitoring the developments, as the outcome could have significant implications for the future of proteomics research and the competitive landscape in the UK and beyond.