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Third Proxy Firm Favors Re-election of Illumina Board Members over Roche Candidates

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A third proxy advisory firm has recommended that Illumina shareholders re-elect all four members of its board who up for re-election at the firm's annual shareholders meeting next week.

The recommendation from Glass Lewis on Monday follows similar advice from Institutional Shareholder Services and Egan-Jones Ratings Company last week to re-elect Illumina's board members rather than a slate of candidates named by Roche.

Roche has nominated a total of six candidates to Illumina's board as part of its bid to acquire the San Diego-based firm in a $6.7 billion hostile takeover. Additionally, Roche is trying to expand Illumina's board by two members.

In its report, Glass Lewis said that Roche's nominations are "intended to serve as little more than additional pressure to complete the transaction on Roche's terms, irrespective of whether they appropriately reflect Illumina's forward value or the board's ability to execute [Illumina's] stand-alone business plan in the current operations climate.

"With that considered, we find no cause for shareholders to support Roche's candidates, nor do we find any reason for shareholders to accept such an expeditious engagement as appropriate in the context of multi-year lows in share price and valuation for Illumina," Glass Lewis added.

Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley said in a statement today, "The simple fact remains that Roche's unsolicited offer clearly undervalues Illumina and that our highly qualified and experienced directors are best positioned to create value for Illumina's stockholders."

On Monday, Illumina issued a fourth letter to shareholders urging them to re-elect the four board members who are up for election this year: Flatley; Chairman William Rastetter; Blaine Blowman; and Karin Eastham.