The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining Illumina over its controversial purchase of Grail

August 15, 2023: The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining Illumina over its controversial $7.1 billion purchase of cancer test creator Grail, the DNA sequencing company stated in a security filing on Thursday.

The previous month, the SEC informed Illumina near the probe and requested documents and communications related to the agreement. According to the filing, the agency also asked for statements and disclosures about the “conduct and compensation” of certain Illumina and Grail management members.

Shares of Illumina decreases by 4% on Friday.

The SEC’s probe only stresses Illumina, which has lost significant sums since closing the deal in August 2021. The company’s market value has decreased to roughly $28 billion from around $75 billion the month the agreement closed.

Illumina’s Grail deal has also met heavy scrutiny from U.S. and European Union antitrust regulators.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, fined Illumina a record $476 million in the previous month for closing the acquisition without first securing regulatory approval.

The fine came after the commission stopped the deal in September over concerns it would stifle innovation and consumer choice in the emerging market for cancer detection tests.

Illumina has appealed the European Commission’s decision, arguing that the body lacks jurisdiction to block the merger between the two U.S. firms.

Illumina expects a final decision on an appeal in late 2023 or early 2024. That’s also when the company anticipates it will hear an outcome of its appeal of a similar order by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Illumina has stated that it will divest Grail if it loses either request.

Illumina’s conclusion to keep Grail sparked a heated representative showdown with activist investor Carl Icahn, who holds a 1.4% stake in the company.

Illumina thinks it can expand Grail’s Galleri test’s availability, affordability, and profitability, which can screen for over 50 types of cancers through a single blood draw.

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