Antitrust hurdle blocks sale of Lakeood Ranch-based Roper unit Gatan Inc.

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LAKEWOOD RANCH — Nearly a year after striking the deal, Roper Technologies Inc. has scrapped the proposed $925 million sale of a manufacturing unit because of antitrust hurdles.

Roper, a diversified tech company with executive headquarters in Lakewood Ranch, planned to sell Gatan Inc., a maker of instrumentation and software used in electron microscopes.

But the two companies announced Monday that they had mutually terminated the transaction “due to challenges in obtaining regulatory approval in the United Kingdom.”

The proposed sale drew scrutiny from the Competition and Markets Authority, Britain’s competition watchdog, over whether the deal could affect competition.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world’s largest maker of scientific instruments, planned to pay cash for Gatan, based in Pleasanton, California, with key manufacturing operations in Warrendale, Pennsylvania.

The 320-employee Gatan would have added about $150 million in revenue to Thermo Fisher, the companies said when announcing the sale in late June 2018. The sale was expected to close last year, but the regulatory review kept delaying it.

Roper acquired Gatan in 2006. Its technologies are used in materials science, electronics and life sciences to enable electron microscopy workflows, from specimen preparation and manipulation to imaging and analysis.

“The companies noted that an existing long-term supply agreement, under which Gatan supplies filter systems, cameras and software to Thermo Fisher’s electron microscopy business, remains intact,” they said in a statement.

The proposed sale came as Amazon.com was disrupting industries like laboratory supplies. Thermo Fisher, headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, invested in its e-commerce capabilities and supply chain last year.

In April Rope reported first-quarter net income of $369.6 million, or $3.53 per diluted share, up from $211.3 million, or $2.03 per share, one year earlier. The industrial equipment maker reported revenue of $1.29 billion, compared with $1.20 billion last year.

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