On November 9, Thermo Electorn Corp. and Fisher Scientific International Inc. completed their merger and, in the process, created a life sciences distribution, tools and reagents behemoth that counts more than $9 billion in annual sales and in excess of 30,000 employees worldwide. Chief Editor Chris Anderson recently caught a few spare moments of Executive Vice President Marc Casper's time to discuss the merger.
DDN: Now that the merger is complete, what changes will both Thermo and Fisher customers notice?
Casper: Obviously our company name has changed and our company will have two premier brands: The Fisher Scientific brand which is synonymous with customer convenience and supply chain efficiency brand; and the Thermo Scientific brand which is how we have evolved the Thermo Electron brand will represent all of our high-tech instruments software equipment and consumables. So in a way, the change will be that Thermo Scientific represents a broader portfolio to help our customers.
DDN: What portions of the market do you think show great promise?
Casper: We are certainly excited by the workflows in the protein science area where we have very strong protein reagents and protein chemistries—that come from what was Fisher Scientific—combined with the mass spectrometry leadership on the technology side from what was Thermo Electron.
DDN: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the new company?
Casper: What is very nice about this business combination is that most of these businesses are extremely complementary. So the typical challenges of integrating large acquisitions and mergers [is easier], since the two companies had a complementary set of activities. Obviously we are combining our two corporate offices and senior management structures and there are a lot of people working hard on those things. The day-to-day business is very much business as usual.
DDN: Where is the biggest opportunity for Thermo Fisher in the market?
Casper: Maybe the way to start to answer that question is to ask: why did we put the companies together? When we looked [at the two] companies, they were healthy companies that were successful at the time we contemplated the merger. Our philosophy is you want to put two strong companies together. You don't want to have a situation where one is weak and you end up sucking all your time fixing it or two companies are weak and using M&A to fix it.
Rather, you have two companies that have very good organic growth, were consolidating the industry with strong financial results and bright prospects.
Clearly, in the pharmaceutical and biotech customer segment, our customers in are looking to drive efficiency and streamline the number of relationships they have. We also know that lab managers are under a lot of pressure to drive efficiency and they are looking to get better data out of their laboratories. We think this [merger] allows us to bring more efficiency and better solutions to the marketplace.