Illumina to appeal after European Commission prohibits $7.1 billion GRAIL acquisition

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Illumina announced Tuesday it plans to appeal the European Commission’s decision to prohibit the DNA sequencing firm’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of cancer detection company GRAIL.

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The European Commission announced its decision earlier Tuesday, saying Illumina “did not offer remedies sufficient” to address the body’s competition-related concerns. The regulatory body first opened an investigation into Illumina’s $7.1 billion acquisition of GRAIL in July 2021, expressing concern the deal would negatively impact competition and innovation in the market for multi-cancer early detection tests.

ILLUMINA WINS FTC GRAIL CASE IN $7.1 BILLION DEAL

“With this transaction, Illumina would have an incentive to cut off GRAIL’s rivals from accessing its technology, or otherwise disadvantage them,” Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s commissioner for competition, said in a statement. “It is vital to preserve competition between early cancer detection test developers at this critical stage of development.”

European Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, gives a joint press conference with the European commissioner for Internal Market on the Data Act at the EU headquarters in Brusse (JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Illumina has maintained its GRAIL deal would not hurt competition and would promote innovation in the market.

“We are disappointed with the European Commission’s decision prohibiting us from acquiring GRAIL back to Illumina,” the company’s general counsel, Charles Dadswell, said in a statement. “Illumina can make GRAIL’s life-saving multi-cancer early detection test more available, more affordable, and more access – saving lives and lowering healthcare costs.”

Illumina announced in 2020 it would acquire its former subsidiary. The company completed its purchase of GRAIL about a year later in 2021 amid the European Commission’s probe and a challenge from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

FTC APPEALS RULING IN CASE CHALLENGING ILLUMINA’S ACQUISITION OF GRAIL

In anticipation of a divestment order from the European Commission, the DNA sequencing company said it will start “reviewing strategic alternatives” for GRAIL in case the order “is not stayed” during the appeal process.

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Last week, an administrative law judge ruled in the company’s favor in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s case challenging the GRAIL deal. The FTC moved to appeal that ruling Friday. 

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