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Illumina, Pacific Biosciences Deal Further Investigated by UK Authority

NEW YORK – The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said yesterday that it is referring the proposed Illumina acquisition of Pacific Biosciences for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation to assess whether it might result in a substantial lessening of competition in the sequencing market.

The decision was widely expected after CMA said earlier this month that it would initiate a second-phase investigation unless the two companies adequately addressed its concerns about reduced competition.

In a note accompanying its decision, CMA said that on June 25, Illumina and PacBio "informed the CMA that they would not offer such undertakings to the CMA. Accordingly, the CMA has decided to make a reference." CMA's chair will now form a group to conduct the Phase 2 investigation.

Illumina said earlier this month that due to the expected further review by CMA, it now expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter.

Illumina announced plans to acquire PacBio for approximately $1.2 billion in cash in November 2018. The firm had previously expected to close the deal mid-2019.