Illumina to divest Grail, will not further appeal FTC order

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision on Friday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had erred in its procedures in ordering Illumina to sell the multicancer early detection test company Grail, vacating the order and sending the case back to the FTC for reconsideration.

However, Illumina has said in a statement that it will not pursue further appeals, and will sell Grail “consistent with the European Commission's divestiture order, with the goal of finalizing the terms by the end of the second quarter of 2024.”

The European Commission (EC) ordered Illumina to divest Grail in October. The EC also fined the company 432 million euros ($457 million) for proceeding without EC approval while the EC was conducting its investigation of the acquisition, in violation of EU merger regulations.

Illumina completed the acquisition of Grail for approximately $8 billion August 2021, despite then-ongoing investigations by the FTC, the SEC, and the EC for potential anticompetitive concerns.

"We are committed to an expeditious divestiture of GRAIL in a manner that allows its technology to continue benefiting patients," said Jacob Thaysen, CEO of Illumina, in the company’s statement. "The management team and I continue to focus on our core business and supporting our customers. I am confident in Illumina's opportunities and our long-term success."

Thaysen was named Illumina’s CEO following a protracted proxy battle involving activist investor Carl Icahn that resulted in the ousting of board chairman John Thompson and the departure of CEO and director of the board Francis deSouza.

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