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FTC Requests Additional Information From Roche Related to Illumina Bid

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche disclosed after the close of the market on Tuesday that the US Federal Trade Commission has requested additional information related to its $5.7 billion hostile bid for Illumina.

The request was issued pursuant to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and seeks more information about Roche's microarray business, the company said.

As a result of the request, the waiting period imposed by the legislation is extended until 10 days after Roche has substantially complied with the request, unless Roche voluntarily extends that period or FTC terminates it sooner. Last month, Roche said in a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it would file paperwork that would extend the antitrust waiting period required for its offer to Illumina until the end of the day March 13.

Roche said it continues to cooperate with the FTC.

Roche made its $44.50-per-share bid for Illumina in late January. Illumina has rejected the offer, however, saying it undervalues the company and labeled it "blatantly opportunistic." The San Diego firm has also created a so-called Poison Pill plan to ward off Roche.

Roche intends to nominate six candidates for Illumina's board at Illumina's annual shareholders' meeting, which has not yet been scheduled. Roche also is moving to change Illumina's bylaws in order to expand the number of members on Illumina's board so that it can gain a majority and successfully complete its purchase of Illumina.

Illumina is urging shareholders to reject Roche's nominees and its plan to increase the board size. Roche Chairman Franz Humer said last week that it has other options in the event that its bid for Illumina is not successful, though he did not say what those are.

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