Deal will expand lab equipment provider’s instrument portfolio for life and materials sciences

US lab equipment giant ThermoFisher Scientific has agreed to buy technical instrument manufacturer FEI for $4.2 billion (£2.9 billion). The deal allows ThermoFisher to complement its mass spectrometry portfolio with FEI’s electron microscopy products. Techniques such as cryo-electron microscopy are becoming increasingly popular for protein characterisation – a trend on which Thermo Fisher hopes to capitalise.

FEI’s 3000 employees and its entire operations, which predominantly sit in Europe and the US, will become part of ThermoFisher’s analytical instruments segment in early 2017.

Earlier this year, ThermoFisher bought biotech company Affymetrix for its genetics testing products.