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Chinese Regulators Clear Thermo Fisher Acquisition of Life Tech

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – China's Ministry of Commerce has approved Thermo Fisher's $15.8 billion acquisition of Life Technologies, pending the divestiture of Thermo Fisher's cell culture business and several other conditions.

In addition to the sale of the cell culture business, the Ministry of Commerce has asked Thermo Fisher to sell its stake in Lanzhou National Hyclone Bio-engineering Co., to divest its gene modulation business, and to reduce the price of its SSP kits and SDS-PAGE protein standards in the Chinese market.

Most of these conditions are similar to those required by the European Commission, which cleared the acquisition in November. At the time, Thermo Fisher agreed to divest its HyClone, Dharmacon, Open Biosystems, and Sera-Mag brands.

Earlier this month, Thermo Fisher announced that it was selling the cell culture media, gene modulation, and magnetic beads businesses to GE for about $1.06 billion.

Ross Muken, an analyst with ISI Group, said in a research note that the pricing concessions outlined in the approval "were not necessarily expected," but should be "manageable."

Clearance by Chinese regulators "is a significant step in the regulatory process," said Ronald O'Brien, director of public relations at Thermo Fisher. He added that the company is still seeking approval from the US Federal Trade Commission and "expects to close the transaction shortly."

O'Brien noted that the conditions of the approval "pertain to businesses with immaterial revenue."