Brussels, 13 May 2011
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Dionex by Thermo Fisher
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Dionex Corporation by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., two-US based suppliers of the research sector. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Thermo Fisher produces analytical instruments, scientific equipment, consumables, research software and services, analysis, discovery and diagnostics. Consumables are products that are necessary to operate scientific equipment while conducting analyses, such as vials.
Dionex is a manufacturer of liquid chromatography (in particular ion chromatography) instruments, sample preparation systems, consumables and software for chemical analysis. Chromatography instruments are used in laboratories for the analysis of inorganic ions, such as those contained in drinking and waste water and environmentally-relevant compounds like nitrate as well as for the analysis of life-based materials such as proteins, pharmaceuticals and pesticides.
The Commission examined the competitive effects of the proposed acquisition in the areas of ion chromatography, high pressure liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, consumables, related software and distribution.
The examination showed that the combination of Thermo Fisher's and Dionex's activities will not lead to competition concerns in any of the relevant markets. The investigation focused mainly on the segment of nano-liquid chromatography ("Nano-LC") instruments, where the activities of the parties principally overlap. The Commission found that Thermo Fisher and Dionex are not each others' closest competitors in this segment and that the combined entity will continue to face significant competitors. The Commission investigation also showed that the combined entity will not have the ability or the incentive to restrict the interoperability of its Nano-LC instruments or its mass spectrometry instruments with those of its competitors.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
Merger control rules and procedures
The Commission, in 1989, was given the power to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation). The Commission clears the vast majority of mergers without conditions and only accepts remedies or prohibits mergers when the notified transaction would lead to a significant impediment to competition and make consumers worse off.
From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 4 April 2011. More information on the case is available at: