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Biotech giant Illumina will unwind takeover of cancer-screening company Grail


SAN DIEGO, Calif. (AP) - Biotech giant Illumina says it will undo its $7.1 billion purchase of the cancer-screening company Grail after losing legal battles with antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe.

San Diego-based Illumina said in a Sunday statement that it made its decision to divest Grail after a U.S. appeals court ruled Friday that the merger could violate antitrust laws.

The European Union in October ordered the deal to be unwound because it closed in 2021 without regulatory approval from the 27-nation bloc. The EU earlier slapped a $475 million fine on Illumina for jumping the gun on the acquisition without its consent.

Ilumina said Sunday it had already pledged to divest Grail if it was not successful with either the European Court of Justice or in the Louisiana-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the U.S. Federal Trade Commission case seeking to block the deal was most recently considered.

The company said the divestiture will happen through a third-party sale or capital markets transaction by the end of the second quarter of 2024.

Illumina is a major supplier of next-generation sequencing systems for genetic and genomic analysis. Grail, based in Menlo Park, California, is a health company developing blood tests to try to catch cancer early.

“We are committed to an expeditious divestiture of GRAIL in a manner that allows its technology to continue benefitting patients,” llumina CEO Jacob Thaysen said in a statement.

Thaysen began leading the company in September after months of tumult over the legal challenges.

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