EU orders US biotech firms to unwind $7bn merger

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The European Commission on Thursday ordered US biotech giant Illumina to reverse its $7 billion purchase of cancer test pioneer GRAIL, arguing that it breached EU merger rules.

Brussels had ordered a halt to the tie-up, fearing it would give the merged firm too great a hold on promising technology for early cancer detection tests, and has previously imposed huge fines.

But the American outfit went ahead with the deal despite European concerns that it would stifle competition and innovation, and now faces further financial penalties if it fails to reverse course.

“With today’s decision, the commission has adopted restorative measures requiring Illumina to divest GRAIL and restore the situation prevailing before the completion of the acquisition,” it said.

In the statement, the EU regulator demanded that Illumina and GRAIL be restored as separate and viable entities in order to prevent “irreparable harm to competition”.

And it warned that it could impose penalty payments of up to five percent of the group’s daily turnover and fines of up to 10 percent of the merged firm’s annual global turnover.

© 2023 AFP

EU orders US biotech firms to unwind $7bn merger (2023, October 12)
retrieved 12 October 2023

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