US FTC Asks For More Information Regarding Roche’s Illumina Takeover Bid

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asked Swiss pharmaceutical company, Roche, for more information concerning the $5.7 billion hostile takeover proposal for diagnostics company Illumina Inc.

Illumina, which is based in San Diego, makes systems that analyse an individual’s DNA.  It is expected that future breakthroughs will use the information to modify treatments in ways that are most effective for people with certain genes.

The Federal Trade Commission is pursuing more details about Roche’s existing microarray business.  The effect of the second request is to lengthen the waiting period on the proposed acquisition until 10 days after Roche has “substantially complied” with the FTC’s wishes. That period can be extended voluntarily by the Roche, or terminated earlier by the Federal Trade Commission.

Roche have declared that they will continue to work “closely and cooperatively” with the Federal Trade Commission as it conducts a review of the proposal.  However, any acquisition would appear to still be some way off.

Illumina’s board universally declined Roche’s offer last month, commenting that the offer was “grossly inadequate” and that shareholders should not tender their stock to Roche.  The board also added that Roche was not accurately valuing the growth potential of Illumina, its products in development and track record.

Roche announced its $44.50 per share offer in January after Illumina rejected their offer to enter negotiations.  A fortnight ago, Roche then extended its $5.70 billion hostile bid, without raising its offer, to March 23.  However, very few shares have been offered by investors who have listened to Illumina’s management, which in January adopted a ‘poison pill’ to ward off Roche’s advances.

Illumina shares are currently trading well above Roche’s offered price, closing at $50.34 per share on Tuesday.


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