Sep 2, 2022 - Economy

FTC loses bid to block Illumina's $7 billion buyout of Grail

Illustration of a caduceus with a gavel in the center.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Genetic testing company Illumina on Thursday prevailed over the Federal Trade Commission in an administrative court trial over its $7.1 billion acquisition of Grail, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of liquid biopsies for early cancer detection. Illumina had founded Grail, but spun it off in 2017.

Why it matters: This is a stinging loss for the FTC, particularly given that the case was heard by its in-house court, and a huge win for Illumina's decision to complete the merger in spite of ongoing litigation.

Look ahead: An European Commission decision on the merger is expected next week, with Illumina disclosing last week that it's reserved $453 million in "legal contingencies" for a negative ruling.

  • Moreover, Brussels could force Illumina to forfeit up to 10% of revenue (including Grail revenue) if found to have violated rules against completing mergers prior to final EC approval.
  • Also, expect the FTC to appeal.
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