Illumina and Pacific Biosciences announced the mutual termination of their $1.2 billion merger agreement, more than a year after it was announced in November 2018. As the chances of a successful outcome dwindled in the face of a long regulatory approval process by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and US Federal Trade Commission, the California-based sequencing companies decided to terminate the agreement in the best interest of their respective shareholders and employees. “When a monopolist buys a potential rival, it can harm competition,” said Gail Levine, deputy director of the FTC’s competition bureau in a December 2019 statement. The FTC ordered an administrative trial on the deal and authorized staff to seek a restraining order in federal court if necessary to prevent the deal from going through until a resolution was reached. Less than a month later, the deal was dead. Francis deSouza, president and CEO of Illumina, said in a statement, “We believe this proposed combination would have broadened access to Pacific Biosciences sequencing technology, significantly expanded and accelerated innovation, and ultimately increased the clinical utility and impact of sequencing.” PacBio president and CEO Michael Hunkapiller said, “We are disappointed that our customers and other stakeholders will not realize the powerful advantages of integrating the sequencing capabilities of our two companies.” In accordance with the merger agreement, Illumina will pay PacBio a termination fee of $98 million.
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Illumina, PacBio deal dead. Nat Biotechnol 38, 116 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-020-0429-z