Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illumina CEO Francis deSouza. PPhoto by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.

Illumina CEO Francis deSouza tells Axios that his company is not trying to defy U.S. or European regulators by completing its $7.1 billion purchase of cancer testing company Grail, despite doing so amidst ongoing government reviews.

Why it matters: Illumina argues that the merger could make early cancer detection more affordable and widely available, but there are concerns that it could be anticompetitive.

Backstory: Grail was developed inside of Illumina, but spun out in 2017 and raised around $2 billion in outside capital. The two parties agreed to merge last September, to combine the maker of blood tests that can detect multiple cancers with the maker of gene sequencers upon which such tests were developed.

  • The FTC in March sued to block the deal, but dropped an earlier injunction request because it (wrongly) believed an ongoing European regulatory review would prevent the merger from closing.
  • Illumina closed the deal this week, saying it would keep Grail as a stand-alone company until regulatory issues are resolved. DeSouza says that even if legal challenges go on for years, he's prepared to wait rather than divest.

Why close now? DeSouza argues that his company's hand was forced by recent news that the Europeans are unlikely to reach its conclusions until sometime in the first quarter of 2022.

  • The closing date requirement was already extended from Sept. 20 to Dec. 20, as allowed in the agreement, and the deal's HSR approval in the U.S. would need to be restarted were the closing delayed too far into March 2022.
  • If Illumina does ultimately lose in either the U.S. or in Europe, it would either seek a buyer for Grail or take it public, deSouza says.
  • "We deeply believe by moving forward there are lots of lives to be saved, around 10,000 just in the U.S. in the 9-year period after the companies are combined," he adds.
  • "And, again, that's just the U.S. Grail only has plans to be in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., but we have products in over 140 countries and relationships with healthcare systems around the world."

Look ahead: An administrative trial on the FTC law suit kicks off next week.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Aug 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

Illumina closes $7 billion deal for Grail, despite FTC suit

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Illumina completed its $7.1 billion acquisition of Grail, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of liquid biopsies for early cancer detection.

Why it matters: This is Illumina shoving its thumb in the eye of U.S. antitrust regulators, who in March sued to block the deal. An administrative court trial is set to begin next week, but the FTC had dropped an earlier injunction request because it (wrongly) believed a European regulatory review would prevent the merger from closing.

Updated 6 mins ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Celebrities are America's new politicians

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Launching gubernatorial bids, making presidential endorsements, founding schools: Celebrities are getting increasingly involved in U.S. public and political life.

Why it matters: As we've reported, politics is no longer just the purview of career politicians, as companies and their CEOs throw their weight around to affect policies. Now, movie stars, famous musicians and professional athletes also are using their influence in politics.