Illumina accused by Brussels of ‘delay tactics’ on Grail divestiture


Brussels has accused Illumina of utilizing “delay tactics” to forestall a speedy ruling on whether or not the world’s largest gene sequencing firm needs to be compelled to divest most cancers take a look at developer Grail.

It follows repeated claims by Illumina that it’s transferring as “expeditiously as possible” to resolve litigation linked to its $8bn acquisition of Grail, which is the main focus of a bruising proxy battle waged by Carl Icahn, the veteran activist investor.

A delay may result in months of ready for an final result whereas traders are in search of certainty over the way forward for Grail. US antitrust regulators additionally ordered Grail’s divestiture in April, a call Illumina is interesting towards.

EU antitrust authorities blocked the deal in September over considerations that it may hurt competitors, after the corporate closed the transaction with out regulatory approval.

Illumina subsequently appealed towards the choice and opposed an utility from Brussels to get an expedited closing ruling on whether or not it ought to eliminate Grail, in line with 4 folks with direct data of the matter.

The fast-track process permits judges in Luxembourg to shortly rule on the substance of a authorized battle in instances which might be thought of pressing.

“Illumina doesn’t want a fast process in court, they are playing delay tactics,” alleged an individual with direct data of the EU’s place.

“The way Illumina is behaving contradicts its claim that it wants to solve the issue fast,” the individual added.

While the corporate is exercising its full authorized rights to defend itself, any delay may purchase time to promote Grail at higher market worth, stated an individual accustomed to the corporate’s technique. 

Illumina has additionally appealed towards a call by the European Commission to scrutinise the case regardless of Grail having no revenues in Europe. That case might be determined by the Court of Justice.

Assimakis Komninos, a associate at legislation agency White & Case, and who shouldn’t be concerned in both Illumina case, stated: “It makes sense for Illumina to wait because if it wins before the Court of Justice on a separate ruling on whether the EU has jurisdiction in the case at all, everything will collapse like a domino effect.”

The European Commission declined to remark.

Illumina responded: “We are pleased the General Court granted priority treatment to our appeal, as we share the [European Commission’s] goal of resolving the case quickly. However, unlike in the US appeal where expedited treatment ensures full briefing by both sides, here, the EC’s request for expedited treatment was entirely one-sided

“The EC’s request would have unfairly deprived us of any ability to respond in writing to the EC’s extensive arguments on appeal and would have also deprived the intervenors of any ability to present their views in writing, thus limiting their ability to participate in the proceedings.”

The revelations come after Icahn launched one of many largest proxy battles in years over what he described as the corporate’s “reckless” acquisition of Grail.

Illumina shareholders ousted the corporate’s chair, John Thompson, in a vote at its annual assembly on Thursday, which enabled Andrew Teno, a nominee proposed by Icahn, to win a board seat.

Two different Icahn nominees failed to draw sufficient votes to win board seats, paving the way in which for Illumina chief govt Francis deSouza and director Robert Epstein to be re-elected.

Analysts stated the vote to oust Thompson mirrored shareholders’ need for Illumina to expedite the authorized course of across the Grail acquisition and divest the corporate.

“We think Illumina’s board of directors has heard the message loud and clear, and we would be curious to see how messaging on Grail changes going forward,” stated Vijay Kumar, analyst at Evercore ISI.