ACCC conditionally approves the proposed acquisition of Life Technologies by Thermo Fisher

19 December 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Life Technologies Corporation by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc after competition concerns were resolved by Thermo Fisher 's undertaking to sell its Australian cell culture business and comply with its commitments to the European Commission to sell its global HyClone cell culture and Dharmacon gene silencing businesses.

Thermo Fisher and Life Technologies are both global companies that operate in the life sciences sector. The parties compete to supply products in the molecular biology, protein biology and cell culture sectors.

In Australia, the merger parties’ customers are research institutions and biopharmaceutical companies.

“The ACCC considered that in the absence of the undertaking, the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition for the supply of certain cell culture products, which are used to grow cells for academic research and vaccine production,” ACCC Commissioner Dr Jill Walker said.

“Our market inquiries identified concerns about the strength of the merger parties in relation to foetal bovine serum (FBS). Life Technologies and Thermo Fisher are two of the three main suppliers of FBS to customers in Australia.”

The ACCC also considered that without the undertaking, the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in the supply of siRNA, a product which is used in the study of genes.

The ACCC will issue a public competition assessment, providing an explanation for its view on the proposed acquisition and the undertaking, in due course.

Section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 prohibits mergers and acquisitions that would have the effect, or be likely to have the effect, of substantially lessening competition in a market.

Further information is available on the mergers register.

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