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Acquisition Combines Rivals in Scientific Imaging

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Stephanie A. Weiss

Photometrics Ltd. and Princeton Instruments Inc., rivals in the scientific imaging market, have joined hands as sister companies in Roper Industries Inc.
Roper, which is based in Bogart, Ga., acquired Photometrics last month. The acquisition expands Roper's photonic portfolio, which began with microscopy firm Gatan International Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., in 1996; scientific imaging specialist Princeton Instruments of Trenton, N.J., last year; and photonic instrumentation maker Acton Research Corp. of Acton, Mass., earlier this year.
Less than a week after announcing the Photometrics acquisition, Roper organized a new company, Roper Scientific, in its Analytical Instruments segment. Roper Scientific will comprise Princeton Instruments and Photometrics but will not replace them, said Will Crocker, group vice president of the Analytical Instruments segment, during an interview at Photometrics' Tucson office the day after Roper Scientific was created.
"This is not a takeover of Photometrics by Princeton Instruments or of Princeton Instruments by Photometrics," Crocker said. "It is a combination of two management teams."
The companies will continue to operate separately, with their own brands and much of their product lines intact, he said. Some areas of each business will work more closely, but officials had not yet determined any specific changes in operations.
As Crocker spoke to Photonics Spectra, manufacturing engineers from Princeton Instruments were in Tucson, and Photometrics managers were in Trenton, all discussing synergies and the new corporate structure.
Combining the companies required Federal Trade Commission approvals to ensure that their togetherness would not result in a monopoly. This process allowed rumors of the acquisition to fester in the scientific imaging community. Some scientific imaging customers have extreme loyalties, bordering on hostility for the company whose cameras they have not chosen.
"My No. 1 task is to reassure the customers that everything is the same," Crocker said.
Crocker said the new company offers an advantage to scientific imaging customers.
"It's a great benefit for us to put the technologies and the people together," Crocker said. "Sometimes a smaller company just can't offer the breadth of a larger one. We can maximize the value to a customer.

Photonics Spectra
May 1998
Businessindustriallight speedMicroscopy

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