Thermo Fisher collects competition green lights for $3.1B Olink takeover

With a new go-ahead from antitrust regulators in the U.K., Thermo Fisher Scientific is on its way to closing its $3.1 billion deal for Olink, the Swedish developer of protein analyzers, antibody tests and research services. 

The country’s Competition and Markets Authority said it has investigated and cleared the acquisition—meeting its July 8 deadline on whether to continue with a deeper probe after launching its initial inquiry in mid-May.

Thermo Fisher has previously obtained green lights from national competition watchdogs in Iceland and Germany—the latter of which was required to examine the transaction due to the companies’ significant business in the country, along with its total value weighing in far above a threshold of 400 million euros.

“Where a major life science company acquires an innovative biotechnology company, it is crucial to carefully analyse the markets and gain an understanding of how different activities and branches of research complement each other,” Andreas Mundt, president of Germany’s Bundeskartellamt, or federal cartel office, said in a June 17 statement. “Especially in a field as promising as proteomics, which is of great significance for the health of us all, we need to ensure that a merger of two companies which are leaders in their respective fields does not stifle research.”

“The merger will result in only insignificant market share additions on the markets affected. Potential product bundling or the risk of market foreclosure, which have been thoroughly examined, are ultimately not expected to occur,” Mundt added. The U.K. authority said it would publish additional details on its decision, which included no caveats, at a later date.

Thermo Fisher first announced its offer last October, signing on to pay $26 for each of Olink’s Nasdaq shares for about a 74% premium over its stock price at the time.

The deal includes Olink’s high-throughput protein analysis assays that can be run on laboratories’ installed qPCR instruments and next-generation sequencers as well as the company’s international operations based in Boston, Tokyo and Shanghai.

“The acquisition of Olink underscores the profound impact that proteomics is having as our customers continue to advance life science research and precision medicine,” Thermo Fisher President and CEO Marc Casper said in the company's announcement last fall.

The companies previously pegged the deal’s closure for mid-July—with the CMA’s clearance coming down just one day before Thermo Fisher’s tender offer for Olink’s outstanding shares is set to expire. As of this writing, the deadline (after multiple extensions) is currently set for 5:00 p.m. ET on July 9.

Update: Thermo Fisher Scientific announced that it closed its acquisition of Olink on July 10.