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Illumina Faces €432 Million Fine for Completing Grail Acquisition without Approval

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Gene-sequencing company Illumina (ticker: ILMN) has been fined €432 million ($476 million) by the European Commission for finalizing its acquisition of cancer test developer Grail before obtaining the necessary approvals. The fine comes after the commission raised concerns about competition and launched an investigation into the acquisition in July 2021.

The European Commission stated that Illumina and Grail announced their merger just a month after the investigation began, disregarding the commission’s rules that prohibit companies from merging before clearance. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust commissioner, emphasized the severity of this breach: “Today’s decision to fine both companies, for a total amount of €432 million, shows that this is a very serious infringement.”

An Illumina spokesperson expressed the company’s intention to appeal the decision. They believe that the fine, although expected and accounted for over the past year, is unlawful, inappropriate, and disproportionate. The spokesperson justified the early closure of the transaction by stating that there were no obstacles in the United States, and the deal timeframe would have expired before the European Commission reached a decision.

During premarket trading on Wednesday, shares of Illumina were down 0.2% to $184.37. So far this year, the stock has seen an 8.6% decline.

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