World Trade

Record $476 Million EU Antitrust Fine Slammed on Illumina for Grail Deal

Whoa, hold your horses! Genetic testing bigwig Illumina just got slapped with a jaw-dropping $476 million fine by the EU antitrust regulators. Ouch! The reason? They went ahead and gobbled up Grail without waiting for the EU’s seal of approval. Talk about playing with fire!

It’s been quite a battle for Illumina, fighting tooth and nail against the EU competition watchdog ever since they were forced to seek approval in 2021. Mind you, their deal didn’t even meet the EU’s turnover threshold for scrutiny. But the European Commission wasn’t having any of it.

The Commission didn’t pull any punches with this fine. A whopping 10% of Illumina’s global revenue, which is the maximum allowed under EU merger rules for such naughty behavior. They wanted to send a clear message: Don’t mess with the rules, folks!

Closing the deal ahead of schedule gave Illumina a major upper hand in calling the shots at GRAIL. And boy, did they do just that. The EU enforcer didn’t hold back, describing this premature move as an unprecedented and seriously bad infringement. Yikes!

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, didn’t mince words either. She called out Illumina and GRAIL for blatantly breaking the rules, merging before the Commission’s clearance and leaving them red-faced. Talk about a major faux pas!

To add insult to injury, Grail got a little love tap as well, receiving a symbolic fine of 1,000 euros for their active role in this infringement. Ouch! It’s the first time a target company has faced the music like this. Not a great look, huh?

Unsurprisingly, Illumina isn’t taking this lying down. They’re firing back, calling the fine unlawful, inappropriate, and way out of proportion. They’re even planning to appeal the penalty. Better buckle up, folks. This battle is far from over!

In their defense, Illumina claims they closed the deal in 2021 because, hey, there was no reason not to in the US. Plus, the clock was ticking, and the EC hadn’t made up its mind yet. Talk about walking a tightrope! But hey, rules are rules, right?

So, in a nutshell, Illumina’s got a massive fine on their hands. They’ve set aside a hefty $458 million to cover it, which is a solid 10% of their annual revenue for 2022. Ouch, that’s gonna sting! But hey, they’re not going down without a fight.

To wrap it up, Illumina and GRAIL took a huge gamble, and it looks like they lost big time. The EU is showing them who’s boss, making it crystal clear that jumping the gun won’t fly. Lesson learned, folks. Don’t mess with the regulators!

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