EU orders Illumina to keep Grail a separate company

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FILE PHOTO: One of the office complexes of Illumina, Inc is shown in San Diego, California

BRUSSELS – The European Commission said on Friday it had taken interim measures following life science company Illumina’s early acquisition of cancer detection test maker Grail Inc, including an order that Grail be kept separate.

Illumina announced on Aug 18 that it had completed its acquisition of Grail even though the Commission, which oversees EU competition policy, had not completed its investigation into the merger. That review is currently set to run until Feb. 4.

The EU order, initially reported by Reuters on Sept 20, is the first imposition of interim measures following an unprecedented early implementation of a takeover, the Commission said.

The measures provide that Grail be kept separate from Illumina and run by independent managers, that the two companies do not share confidential information, the interactions be kept at arms length and that Grail work on alternative options in case the Commission rejected the merger.

The companies can be fined if they do not comply.

The Commission said the measures were designed to prevent the “potentially irreparable detrimental impact” of the transaction on competition and possible irreversible integration of companies, pending the outcome of its investigation.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop)