Illumina/PacBio abandon merger

3 Jan 2020 10:23 AM

Illumina has abandoned its anticipated $1.2 billion takeover of PacBio after an in-depth CMA merger probe highlighted serious competition concerns.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has therefore today confirmed that it will be cancelling its Phase 2 merger investigation.

Illumina, Inc. (Illumina) and Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc (PacBio) are both global suppliers of Next-Generation DNA sequencing systems to organisations across the world, including UK universities, laboratories and research institutes. DNA sequencing systems are vital to the study of genetic variation in humans and other species, for purposes such as essential disease research and drug development.

The CMA launched a Phase 2 inquiry in July 2019 after initial competition concerns led to the proposed merger being referred to a group of independent CMA panel members for an in-depth investigation.

The CMA provisionally found in October 2019 that the merger would result in a significant loss of competition between the 2 companies, with few alternative providers of DNA sequencing systems remaining. The CMA was also concerned that the loss of PacBio as an independent competitor would lead to a reduction in overall levels of innovation in the market. The CMA had proposed that blocking the merger would be the only way of addressing these concerns.

The deal was also being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission, and the 2 authorities have cooperated closely throughout their respective investigations.

Illumina and PacBio have now decided not to continue with the deal. More information is available on the Illumina / PacBio case page.