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Illumina Loses Challenge Against EU Antitrust Probe

 |  July 13, 2022

Illumina on Wednesday lost its challenge in Europe’s second-highest court against the European Union having scrutiny over its $8 billion cash-and-stock takeover of fellow US life sciences firm Grail.

The case is important for EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager who wants to expand the European Commission’s power to examine acquisitions of startups by big companies that could seek to shut nascent rivals, particularly in tech and pharmaceuticals deals.

Her critics see it as a power grab that has triggered alarm bells at some national competition agencies.

Illumina said it would appeal the General Court ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union, Europe’s highest.

That could take years and it is unlikely the EU competition agency will wait before deciding whether to clear or block the deal.

It halted its probe into the deal in February while waiting for the court ruling. “As regards the Phase II investigation into the Illumina/Grail case, proceedings are currently suspended and will continue as soon as the clock restarts,” a Commission spokesperson said.

The General Court swiped away Illumina’s arguments. “The Commission has the competence to examine that concentration which did not have a European dimension or fall within the scope of the national merger control rules of member states of the European Union or states party to the agreement on the European Economic Area,” the Court said.

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