(CTN News) – Gene sequencing company Illumina announced on Sunday that it will divest cancer diagnostic test maker Grail following a battle with antitrust enforcers and opposition from activist investor Carl Icahn.
The divestiture will be carried out through a third-party sale or capital markets transaction, with terms expected to be finalized by Q2 2024.
Grail, valued at $7.1 billion, aims to market a blood test called a liquid biopsy for diagnosing cancer.
Illumina had previously spun off Grail in 2016 but reacquired it in 2021.
The FTC has been concerned about the deal reducing competition and may pursue a new legal strategy to block the acquisition. Measures were also proposed in Europe to reverse the acquisition.
In July, the European Union imposed a historic fine of 432 million euros ($471 million) on Illumina for finalizing its acquisition of Grail without obtaining antitrust approval from the EU.
Illumina had previously stated that it would divest Grail within a year as per the European Commission’s order unless the company succeeds in its legal challenge.
Recently, Illumina argued that it does not conduct any business in Europe, thus questioning the jurisdiction of the EU competition enforcer.
Additionally, the Acquisition of Grail faced opposition from investors, including billionaire Icahn, who successfully challenged the board in May.
In October, Icahn filed a lawsuit against Illumina, alleging that the company violated its fiduciary responsibilities with the Grail deal.
As a result of these challenges, Illumina’s stock price has plummeted by over 37% this year, leading to the replacement of the CEO shortly after Icahn secured a board seat.